New Delhi: Days after the US authorities arrested 129 Indian students for enrolling in a fake university in order to fraudulently remain in the country, the State Department has issued a statement affirming that they knowingly committed fraud.

The statement read, “All participants in this scheme knew that the University of Farmington had no instructors or classes (neither on-line nor in-person) and were aware they were committing a crime in an attempt to fraudulently remain in the United States”.

This comes amid claims that the students were fooled into believing the legitimacy of the university.  The State Department’s statement also gains relevance after India issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi and demanded consular access to them.

According to a report in the Press Trust of India (PTI), the students were arrested last week by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for enrolling at the University of Farmington allegedly to remain in America. The fake university was set up by the DHS’s investigating unit in Greater Detroit area to bust the “pay-and-stay” racket.

LOW FEE, WORK PERMIT FROM DAY 1

If reports are to be believed, then the ‘University of Farmington’ had no classes, low tuition fee and awarded work permits on the first day of the session itself. Some 600 students, out of which majority were from India had sought admission in the institute.

Apart from the 129, an unknown number of other students have been radio tagged and restrictions placed on their movements.

Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, on Sunday assured that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will have access to all the students soon.

Shringla also added that the embassy officials have been travelling across the US and meeting students at the detention centres since the matter was first reported.