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'Russia Best, No IELTS Needed': How Agents Lure Job-Seekers to the Ukraine War

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

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“100 percent guarantee for Russia study visa in 7 days.” 

“With or without IELTS ... Study in USA...Pay Tuition Fee After Visa” 

“There is no war here [in Russia] but only in areas along the border. They need manpower to take care of their daily needs, which is where you come in.” 

These insincere “guarantees” are promised by unscrupulous travel agents, who have not only anointed themselves as ‘overseas recruitment experts’ but also have elaborate networks within and outside India.  

Through false advertisements such as the above, these agents target gullible Indians, eager to work abroad, and often lure them with higher wages and better prospects than what they could have managed in India. Many Indians have fallen prey to these job scams – exposing themselves to perils abroad despite paying a hefty fee to these agents for their safe travels.  

The seven Indian men – two from Haryana and five from Punjab – who had through a video message alleged that they were duped into joining the Russian army by a travel agent – have shared a fresh video last week demanding the Indian government for their safe evacuation:

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Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the matter and has named 15 individuals, including a Russian agent, and four companies in the First Information Report (FIR) filed earlier this month.  

They have been charged under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 370 (exploitation of a trafficked person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

In the FIR, the CBI stated: 

“It has been learnt that on reaching Russia, passports of these Indian Nationals were taken/snatched by agents in Russia. They were being trained in combat roles and provided with Russian army uniform and batches. Thereafter, these Indian Nationals are/were being deployed at front bases in Russia - Ukraine War Zone against their wishes and put their lives in grave danger. It has been ascertained that some human trafficking victims were also got grievously injured in the war zone.” 

The Quint dives deep to profile travel consultancy companies mentioned in the FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers minting money at the expense of their lives: 

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Baba Vlogs Overseas Recruitment Solutions Pvt Ltd

“Baba Vlogs describes itself as a “leading job consultancy and recruitment agency in Dubai and India since 2016.” The company was registered on 25 August 2023 in Thane, Maharashtra, according to information website The Company Check. The directors of the firm are accused no. 10 Faisal Abdul Muttalib Khan and 11 Mohammad Sufiyan Dawood Ahmad Darugar in the CBI FIR. 

Faisal Khan, who is a popular YouTuber, had received the 'YouTube silver button', according to a picture he shared on his Facebook on 17 March 2018, for completing 1 lakh subscribers.  

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

Faizal Khan showing his YouTube silver button plaque. 

(Photo: Facebook/Faisal Khan)

“It’s not rocket science. You don’t have drive tanks or do firing or fight at the border. It’s a simple situation. There are 1,000 troops here. There is no war here but only in areas along the border. Here, they need people to take care of daily needs. They need manpower, which is where you come in,” he had said in a video on his YouTube channel, which has now been taken down.  

In the reported video, posted in 2023 and recorded in St Petersburg in Russia, he had also said that the work would involve emptying out destroyed and demolished buildings and assured that its mostly “security” or “helper type of work.” 

This glib talk by Khan has reportedly taken a 30-year-old victim in Mohammed Asfan, who allegedly went to Russia through Baba Vlogs in November last year and was tricked into signing a contract of joining the Russian army. He hailed from Telangana and flew to Moscow from Chennai via Sharjah. 

Talking to The Quint earlier, Asfan’s brother Mohammed Imran said the former used to “trust Baba Vlogs blindly” but the firm ignored his many cries of help after he was coerced into joining the Russian army. 

"The very next day, they asked him to sign an agreement, which was written in the Russian language. When Asfan asked them what the contract was about, they said that it was related to the job he had come here to do – so he trusted them blindly and signed it. But it was actually an agreement to join the Russian Army."
Mohammed Imran, Asfan's brother

Meanwhile, Faisal Khan told The Indian Express that he was “the victim” in this situation, having sent 35 Indians to Russia. He also asserted that the candidates taking up the offers were explicitly made aware of the risks and had chosen to go in lieu of increased wages.  

He told the newspaper: 

“My intent has not been to dupe anyone and send them in harm’s way. If I was duping people, would I have left any trace? All my videos explaining about the work that people would have to do in Russia are still online and I have not pulled them down as I am not guilty.” 

His channel Baba Vlogs had over 3 lakh followers but has now been taken down by YouTube. His channel on Instagram is also down. 

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

The phone numbers given on the company’s website are not in service. The Quint reached out to the company via email and will update the story once they respond. 

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Adventure Visa Services Pvt Ltd, Ambala

A Google search of Adventure Visa Services Pvt Ltd, Ambala will direct you to the company’s LinkedIn profile, which says it is the “India's No.1 Licensed Immigration Consultancy.” It’s last post, about a year ago, claimed to be a testimonial a Punjab man “receiving his Russia study visa.” 

The company’s registered websites adventureoverseas.io and adventureimmigration.org are no longer hosted on internet domain company GoDaddy.  

On another website adventureoverseas.in by the name of Adventure Overseas Consultancy and the same logo, at least 56 testimonials of “visa success” of apparent clients were posted, of which, 30 were for Russia.  

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

Testimonials of clients allegedly got visa through Adventure Overseas Consultancy.

(Image: Screenshot/ company website)

The company was incorporated on 18 January 2023 in Ambala, Haryana, according to Zauba Corp. The Director is Manjeet Singh Barnala. In Barnala’s LinkedIn profile, he refers to himself as the Founder and CEO of Adventure Overseas Consultancy since 2014.

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

Manjeet Singh Barnala

(Image: LinkedIn/Adventure Overseas Consultancy)

Interestingly, the company has changed its address at least three times in the last five years. Up until two years ago, the company gave its location as Raipur in Chhattisgarh and then at the Ambala address.  

Posts on the company’s LinkedIn page read: 

“Study in Germany...Get Offer Letter in 6 Days.” 

“With or without IELTS ... Study in USA...Pay Tuition Fee After Visa” 

LinkedIn posts from three years ago suggest the company’s address to be in Ludhiana, Punjab. The posts seem to be testimonials of approved visa applications for Russia, Ukraine, UK, Australia and other countries.  

The firm claims to have processed over 50,000 visa applications.  

The phone numbers given along with these promotional posts are now defunct. The Quint reached out to the company via email and will update the story once they respond. 

The last reel on the company’s Instagram handle was on 16 March and promised a monthly salary of Rs 1 lakh in Russia for minimum educational qualifications of 12th pass. The posts are all in Punjabi language and promise to get study visas in several countries including Cyprus, Malta, Finland, Ireland and Canada. 

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.
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24x7 RAS Overseas Foundation, Delhi

The company was registered just over a year ago on 20 January 2023 in Delhi, according to Zauba Corp. Its Directors are Suyash Mukut and Garima Balayan, although the latter’s name is not mentioned in the CBI FIR.  

Suyash Mukut describes himself as the Chairman and Founder of RAS Overseas Services.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Suyash is the son of Anita Mukut, who is the BJP representative from the Dhar municipal council in Madhya Pradesh. The Quint has not been able to verify this claim independently. A profile on X purportedly belonging to Mukut has posts promoting Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders.
We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

Suyash Mukut's picture from an X profile purportedly belonging to him. 

@mukut_suyash/X

The company website promises to “make your study abroad experience seamless, stress-free and memorable” and claims to offer career counselling to those wanting to study MBBS from Russia.  It has over 2,500 followers on Instagram.

According to a report in The Times of India, the consultancy firm has sent over 180 youths to Russia on student visas in the last few months. The CBI is now trying to ascertain the whereabouts of these youths and if they have been sent to fight with the Russian armed forces. The central investigating agency is also trying to probe how many of these students were actually enrolled in colleges and universities.  

The phone numbers given on the company’s website are out of service. The Quint reached out to the company via email and will update the story once they respond. 

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OSD Bros Travels and Visa Services Private Limited

The company was incorporated on 14 October 2016, according to Zauba Corp is run by Deepak Kumar Taraknath Pandey and Rakesh Taraknath Pandey. The company is registered in Mumbai. It has another branch in Delhi and another in Chonburi province of Thailand, according to the firm's website.  

The company’s Facebook page, with a little over 1,300 followers, gives “100 percent guarantee for Russia study visa in 7 days.” The guarantee was also extended for Thailand and New Zealand. 

In the videos posted on their social media, the founder brothers – Deepak Kumar and Rakesh – are often seen taking testimonials from their alleged clients on their experiences of studying in Moscow. 

We dive deep to profile travel firms named in CBI's FIR and look at how they allure unsuspecting job-seekers.

YouTube channel of OSD Bros Travels

(Image: Screenshot)

In their latest video, posted on YouTube around three weeks ago, the founders are calling clients for a “guaranteed” visa for Canada, “even if it has been refused before.” 

 “Rs 6,000 mein Russian mile na mile, Russia ka visa zaroor mil jaega,” one of the founders of the company is seen saying in a promotional video, laced with indecent and misogynistic remarks.

The company’s page got a ‘silver button’ from YouTube for reaching one lakh followers, the founders alleged in another short video on 15 January this year. Its current follower base is 125K.  

The company also promised a “study visa in 15 days even if it has been refused before,” with the caveat that it is a “language course” so one can only get a Russia visa for three months but may get it extended for 11 months after reaching there.  

The phone numbers given on the company’s website are not in operation. The Quint reached out to the company via email and will update the story once they respond. 

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Russia   CBI   Human Trafficking 

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