12 Himachal natives, two from Punjab stranded in Saudi Arabia; CM Jai Ram Thakur seeks Sushma Swaraj's help

Shimla: Fourteen people are stranded in Saudi Arabia with most of them, including residents of Himachal Pradesh, in the West Asian nation's jails after two local travel agents allegedly sent them to work there on tourist visas, police said Saturday.

Of the 14 people, 12 belong to Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district and two are from Punjab. Twelve are lodged in jails in Saudi Arabia. They are stranded as their tourist visas have expired and they do not have work visas, they said.

Police said the agents, who had promised them of getting the work visas and allegedly cheated them of Rs 90,000 each, have been booked.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has raised the issue with Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He has urged her to bring back the 14 people stranded in Saudi Arabia. They are stranded due to some visa problems, an official spokesperson said.

File image of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. AP

File image of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. AP

Thakur had called up the Union minister and asked her to personally take up the matter with Saudi Arabia authorities for their release. He said they had gone there to earn their livelihood, the spokesperson said.

The chief minister has also written a letter to Sushmain this regard.

Mohammad Asif and Qadir were booked under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the Sundernagar police, Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Gurdev Sharma, said.

Sharma said that "as per available information, 12 of the 14 people are currently lodged in Saudi Arabia jails whereas two are working in a company".

"The travel agents were booked on the basis of a complaint lodged by a Sundernagar resident Saroj whose husband Harjinder Singh is one of the fourteen people," he said.

"Although an FIR against the two travel agents was lodged but neither of them has been arrested so far as the matter is under investigation," the officer said.

The complainant alleged in her statement that the travel agents had assured them to send to Saudi Arabia on work visa, but they were sent there on tourist visa, Sharma said.

In her complaint, Saroj alleged that her husband along with the 13 other persons went to Saudi Arabia after the agents promised them high salary jobs.

The agents had charged Rs 90,000 from each person as fee for arranging their work visa and jobs at Saudi Arabia, she alleged.

The agents sent all these 14 persons on tourist visa, she said, claiming that the agents told them that the company, where they would be employed, would arrange their work visa after three months.

The complainant further alleged that the employer company had not provided them work visa despite promises by the agents.

Now, their tourist visa has expired and the company has retained their passports, she alleged.

Besides, Harjinder Singh, the 13 other people, who are stuck in Saudi Arabia, include Tanuj Kumar, Ravi Kant, Ashwani, Shyam Lal, Onkar Chand, Devendra Kumar, Vikram Chand, Prem Singh, Joginder Singh, Manoj Kumar, Lalit Kumar, Devender  and Bhupendra, Saroj said in her complaint.

Sundernagar MLA Rakesh Jamwal said he had taken up issue with the chief minister and Mandi MP Ram Swaroop Sharma. He said he has urged them to raise the issue with Swaraj for ensuring their return to India.

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Updated Date: Dec 01, 2018 19:29:19 IST

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