New Delhi :
As many as 129 Indian students have been arrested in the alleged pay-and-stay university visa scam in the US. The American authorities said that the students were arrested for enrolling at a fake university allegedly to stay longer in the US. According to the federal prosecutors who announced the charges against the Indian students, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had launched an undercover operation of which the university in Detroitâ€™s Farmington Hills was also a part.
The Homeland Security Investigations (DHS) had opened the fake university to trap people who were involved in the illegal student visa scam. The university has now been closed.Â This was the first time that the Indian students were arrested on such a large scale. The arrests also created panic amongÂ the other Indian students.
Officials aware of the case said that the arrested students face deportation, besides being put under detention. They said that at the time of admission, all the arrested students knew thatÂ the university programme was illegal.
Meanwhile, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said that it was aware of the incident and was doing all the possible efforts to help the stranded Indian students.
"We are awareÂ aboutÂ this incident. We are ascertaining more details (through) our embassy in Washington and different consulates in the US...We have also mobilised the Indian community organisations in the US to extend all possible support to the Indian students who are affected by this incident," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi.
The External Ministry has also opened a special 24/7 helpline service for queries and assistance related to the arrest of the Indian studentsÂ in the US. Family members of the detained students can call on the telephone numbers (given below) to seek information about them.
For queries and assistance related to the detention of Indian students in the US, please contact our special 24/7 helpline. pic.twitter.com/iorYgZ5cxXâ€” Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 2, 2019