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Gujarati woman returns from US after 9 years, detained

DNA   |  Nov 17, 2012, 06:42AM IST
Ahmedabad: Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the east coast of the United Coast, also drove Veena Mahendra Patel back to India. Patel, who had migrated illegally to the US in 2003, was detained by the immigration department when she landed at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport, Ahmedabad on Tuesday (November 13). 
 
According to Sardarnagar police, Veena, 47, a resident of Arjun Nagar Society in Balol village of Mehsana district, was sent to the US in 2003 by her husband Mahendra Patel. Mahendra had used the services of an agent who had charged Rs36 lakh to send her on the passport of some other woman. 
 
“When she reached the US, the agent’s men took away her fake passport. Her husband sent her original passport to her through courier but it didn’t have the immigration department’s departure stamp on it. She worked in some hotel in the United States as a cleaner and sweeper for almost a decade,” a source said. 
 
The source further said that Veena had suffered serious injuries on her waist and head when the hurricane struck the US. She was bedridden for while and, as a result, could not work. This affected her financial condition adversely, the source said. 
 
“Finally, lack of money for medical treatment forced her to return to India. She contacted the Indian Embassy there and got an emergency certificate to fly back to Ahmedabad,” the source in the police said. 
 
Acting on a tip-off, the immigration department at Ahmedabad airport detained Veena when she arrived by Air India Flight No. 144. Officials at the airport questioned here about the absence of an immigration stamp on her passport. She could not reply satisfactorily to the queries of the officers and finally broke down and revealed her whole story. 
 
GH Khan, police inspector of the immigration department, said that they had stopped Veena Patel because her passport wasn’t stamped for departure. “So we informed the Sardarnagar police who 
 
detained her,” Khan said. 
 
PI of Sardar Nagar police station V S Sarvaiya confirmed that Veena had been detained. 
 
“We have sent her husband a notice. We have registered a non-cognizable case but we are investigating to find out about the agent who had illegally sent her to the US and charged Rs36 lakh for this. We will be registering an FIR after investigations are over,” Sarvaiya said.
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