According to the Gujarat police officers, the US consulate general had directed Mehsana police to probe the case after which the cops started an investigation.
A police officer said that the scam of issuing IELTS certificates to US and Canada aspirants has been running for nearly five years.
‘Agents Promised IELTS certificates’
The local aides of the human smugglers promise to issue them IELTS certificates with high scores. For this, the candidates are required to shell out Rs 14 lakh each. The agents who work for the Mehsana man collect the money from the aspirants,” a police officer explained.
Six men who travelled to Canada on student visas were caught by the US agencies on April 28. They were rescued by the agencies of Canada and the US from a sinking boat in the St Regis while illegally crossing over into the US.
In pursuance Inside Gujarat Mehsana police has began a probe to unearth a racket wherein ineligible students are acquiring high International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores to obtain admission in Canadian colleges so they can be smuggled into the United States.
IELTS is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. The probe is being conducted on the request of American authorities, officials said.
“These six Indian nationals from Gujarat, in the 19-21 age group, were apprehended from a sinking boat in the Saint Regis river in Akwesasne, US, close to the Canadian border.
Four are from Mehsana, and two are from Gandhinagar and Patan,” according to Inspector Bhavesh Rathod of the Mehsana police’s Special Operations Group (SOG).
Mehsana police’s SOG is leading the investigation in the case. The four students have been identified as Dhruv Patel, Neel Patel, Urvish Patel and Savan Patel who appeared for the exam in Navsari on September 25, 2021.
After this, they went to Canada on student visa on March 19, nearly two weeks before they got caught at the US-Canada border. Rathod added that they failed to answer the questions in English before a US court, due to which the court had to take help of a Hindi translator.
According to the police, the court was “baffled as these students had scored 6.5 to 7 bands in IELTS, an English proficiency test.”
The matter came to light after US border authorities arrested 6 youngsters from Gujarat during a failed attempt to get unauthorised entry into the country via Canada.
The investigation into the matter has revealed that the agency which took the exam maintained no transparency. CCTV cameras were also turned off during the IELTS exam held in September this year, Rathod further told news agency PTI.
He noted, “The manager of the banquet hall in Navsari, which was hired for the exam, said the exam supervisors had turned off CCTV cameras before the exam. This proves there was no transparency and something was definitely suspicious. The agency which was authorised to conduct the exam is based in Ahmedabad.”
Mehsana police’s investigation into the irregularities in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exams has brought seven centres in Rajkot, Vadodara, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Navsari, Nadiad and Anand under scanner.
Officers told that at least 950 candidates are suspected to have fraudulently secured high IELTS scores this year by paying Rs 14 lakh each.
All of them are now either in the US or Canada.