In a shocking case of job fraud, 178 hopeful youths from a small village in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district fell victim to a scam that promised lucrative careers in Canada. Popinder Singh and his associate, Preeti, are now on the run after duping these youngsters of a staggering Rs 2.3 crore. The elaborate con, involving forged documents and deceit, has left the village in despair and triggered a criminal investigation.
The Fateful Meeting
It all began in January this year when Palwinder Singh, a businessman from Ghaziabad, crossed paths with Popinder Singh during an event. Popinder, originally from Pathankot, posed as a senior HR executive of a reputed Ottawa-based company, Zenith Manpower Services, Canada. The promise was enticing – a job opportunity in Canada, the land of dreams.
But Popinder’s proposition didn’t stop at just one job. He lured Palwinder into recruiting around 500 youths for various sectors in Canada, offering him a commission for each successful candidate. Palwinder, returning to his village of Chawa in Gurdaspur, embarked on a mission to fulfill this promise of greener pastures.
The Tempting Offer
In Chawa, Palwinder found no shortage of enthusiastic young villagers eager to seize the opportunity of a lifetime. The offer was compelling, with monthly salaries in Canada far exceeding what many of them could earn in a year – a generous 3,380 Canadian dollars, roughly equivalent to Rs 2 lakh.
Palwinder, recalling his experience, stated, “He said he handled recruitments for Zenith Manpower Services, Canada. Since he needed to hire 500 youths over the next few months, I went back to my village and asked around. The offer was luring enough. Soon, I had a list of 178 youths who agreed to pay for the visa and other documents.”
The Scam Unfolds
The 178 hopeful job seekers were asked to pay varying amounts ranging from Rs 80,000 to 1.5 lakh each to initiate the visa application process. In no time, 61 of them received air tickets and offer letters at their doorsteps, igniting dreams of a better future abroad.
However, their hopes were short-lived. Just three days later, when they checked the status of their tickets online, they were shocked to discover that their tickets had been canceled. Worried and anxious, they rushed to the Delhi office of Zenith Manpower Services, only to be met with empty promises that their tickets would be rebooked.
This ordeal repeated twice more, each time ending in canceled tickets and increasing doubts among the victims. Sensing something was amiss, they decided to take matters into their own hands and visited the Canadian Embassy in Delhi.
The Deception Unveiled
At the Canadian Embassy, the truth began to unravel. The embassy officials revealed that all the documents provided to them by Popinder and Preeti were forged, dashing the dreams of these young job aspirants. Meanwhile, Popinder, Preeti, and their associates at the Delhi office had switched off their phones and locked up shop, disappearing without a trace.
Criminal Investigation Underway
The victims of this elaborate scam, now facing not only financial losses but shattered dreams, took their grievances to the authorities. Vivek Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (rural), wasted no time in registering an FIR against Popinder and Preeti under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy, and using forged documents.
As the investigation continues, the 178 youths from Chawa and their families are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered aspirations, underscoring the importance of due diligence when pursuing opportunities abroad.
This heartbreaking incident serves as a stark reminder to always verify the authenticity of offers that seem too good to be true, especially when they involve life-changing opportunities in a foreign land.
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