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Radio-tagging of TVU students justified: US


Preeti Singh,CNN-IBN
Jan 31, 2011 at 10:53pm IST

Hyderabad: The United Staes on Monday justified the use of ankle monitors to electronically tag the movement of some Tri-Vally University (TVU) students.

A statement issued by the US embassy says: “Use of ankle monitors is widespread across the United States and standard procedure for a variety of investigations, and does not necessarily imply guilt or suspicion of criminal activity.”

Meanwhile, to provide information, the Andhra Pradesh government has set up a helpline for addressing the queries of the families.

It is an anxious wait for the family of thousands of students of TVU who face an uncertain future.

Prakash Rao, 58, is one of the unfortunate parents who sent their children to study in TVU. His daughter is likely to be deported back to India for studying at Tri Valley - a school which is being investigated for immigration fraud.

“We are wondering why is the government is not responding to requests. These are students whose careers are now in question ,” complained Rao.

More than 1 lakh students fly to the US every year for higher studies. 35 per cent of them are from Andhra Pradesh. A majority of tri valley students are also from the state. Today, some among them are suspects being investigated for complicity in the fraud. Students are also being probed for duping others in return for money.

Some disturbing facts have emerged in the case. It has been learnt that TVU was allowed to enroll only 30 students, but it had more than 1500 students by September 2010 with another 1000 waiting to be enrolled. The school held no classes -- but not too many students complained.

US investigators also say the school sold work permits -- to those studying at the school

Even more suspicions arise as the school records show 700 students living in one apartment! Investigators say this was done only to hide the fact that students were not living in California.

18 of them have now been tagged electronically. They were questioned by the immigration authorities who felt their movements needed to be monitored, a move condemned by India as excessive.

Its an anxious wait for the Indian families of students caught in the Tri Valley university scam. While the families are hesitant to divulge details fearing further damage to the students' careers, the Government of India has advised students of TVU to apply to other universities. The concern though is: Is this university scam only a small part of increasing visa frauds and are the students victims or are they party to the conspiracy?

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