A RECRUITING agency which allegedly conned people out of money to apply for nearly 300 bogus jobs in a Bahrain hospital is being shut down by Indian authorities. Police from Karnataka’s District Crime Intelligence Bureau (DCIB) arrested two men from Mangalore for allegedly operating a fake visa racket to recruit people to Bahrain.
JCG Associates, which is registered with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, allegedly tried to con people by promising them bogus jobs at the American Mission Hospital (AMH).
The scam was exposed after AMH general practitioner Dr Babu Ramachandran was bombarded with calls from people in Bahrain, who were asked by relatives in India to inquire about the vacancies.
The GDN reported on February 4 that the Indian Embassy had forwarded a complaint to higher authorities, including the ministry, the Karnataka Chief Secretary (because the agency is registered in the state), as well as the Protector of Emigrants in Delhi and Kerala.
The action followed the publication of an advertisement in January’s Malayala Manorama’s Kannur edition, claiming that the hospital was recruiting nearly 300 staff.
The advertisement claimed there were 40 vacancies for university-qualified nurses, offering salaries of BD400, 100 for general nurses, at BD300 a month, five X-ray technicians with monthly salaries of BD200 and 20 ambulance drivers, at BD180 a month.
It also claimed there were 30 vacancies for security guards, at BD150 a month, 40 for ward boys at BD130 a month and 40 for cleaners, at BD80 a month.
AMH officials confirmed that the advertisement was fake and that the hospital did not have any recruiting agents in India.
The two men arrested have been identified as Canute D’Souza and Francis Rebello, said investigating officer K K Ramakrishnan from Mangalore.
“The police have recovered 128 resumes, receipt books and fake police clearance certificates,” he told the GDN.
“The accused have been released on bail but we are proceeding with the investigation. It may take a month or so for us to collect all the evidence, because most of it is documentary.
“Also questioning the people who have been cheated (witnesses) will take a while, because they are spread in two states, Karnataka and Kerala.
“It seems they (the accused) charged Rs15,000 (BD123) each from around 128 candidates interviewed for the jobs.
“We also have a copy of the advertisement they published in the newspaper about the vacancies at the Bahrain hospital.
“As soon as all the evidence have been collected, the charge sheet will be submitted to the court based on which their licence will be cancelled.”
Mr Ramakrishnan revealed that they had received several complaints earlier against this agency but was unable to conduct any investigation as victims refused to file an official complaint.
“People had come to us earlier saying that these men (the accused) had cheated them out of Rs50,000 (BD410) to Rs60,000 (BD490),” he said.
“But they were only interested in out-of-court settlements and would not file an official complaint.
“Finally, we received a proper case from the Indian Embassy in Bahrain, through the ministry, asking us to investigate this agency.
JCG Associates claims on its website to be a leading manpower agency based in Karnataka, providing specialised services for the healthcare, oil and gas, information technology, construction and hospitality sectors.
It boasts clients in Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Europe and lists Canute D’Souza as its operations manager.
Dr Ramachandran said that he was relieved that the alleged offenders had been caught.
“This has saved so many people from being cheated,” he said.
Labour Ministry and Labour Market Regulatory Authority officials earlier warned jobseekers not to fall prey to bogus advertisements in newspapers offering work in Bahrain. firstname.lastname@example.org