CBI asks US for info on convicted NRIs

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has asked the US department of justice (DOJ) to provide information and documentation on Indians who commit crimes on American soil and are prosecuted there, particularly those who plead guilty in economic and cyber crimes.

CBI wants this information so that the Indian links of convicted criminals can be probed by law enforcement agencies in the country, people familiar with the development said.

Cases of Indian nationals involved in duping American citizens or running unfair online practices being probed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or local authorities in the US have come to the notice of Indian agencies, which are closely watching such cases, they said.

The indictment of six people, including an Indian national, Nishad Kunju (31) from Hyderabad, by a US grand jury in September for conspiring to pay over $100,000 in commercial bribes to employees and contractors of Amazon, is the latest case in which CBI and other agencies want to probe possible Indian links. Another Indian national, Chirag Sachdeva, pleaded guilty last month to charges of participating in a telemarketing scheme to try and embezzle $600,000 from seven elderly people in America. He was arrested by FBI in February.

Indian agencies believe there are many more such cases of online fraud or cyber crime involving Indian citizens based in the US, and there is a possibility that they park illegal money in India, or have associates in India who need scrutiny.

A senior DOJ official last week attended a three-day national conference on vigilance and corruption, organised by CBI, where the issue was taken up, said an officer. “We have asked DOJ to provide the relevant documents on Indians arrested there,” said a second officer.

There has been enhanced cooperation between CBI and DOJ in recent weeks. DOJ praised the Indian agency earlier this month for conducting raids on six companies in India as part of a parallel investigation in a technical support fraud masterminded by an American citizen working in India. They are also informally collaborating on matters such as the investigations into fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and industrialist Vijay Mallya.

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