‘Detained 129 Indian students were aware of their crime’

Washington: All 130 foreign students, including 129 Indians, detained in the US for enrolling in a fake university were aware that they were committing a crime to fraudulently remain in the country, the State Department has said amid claims that they knew nothing about the varsity’s illegal operation.

The State Department’s response came after India issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi on Saturday, expressing its concern over the detention of Indian students and sought immediate consular access to them.

The foreign 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.

Eight individuals – either Indian citizens or Indian-Americans – have been arrested for running the racket. They have pleaded ‘not guilty’ before a federal court in Michigan. One of them Phanideep Karnati, 35, who is on a H-1B visa and lives in Louisville, Kentucky, was released on a bond of USD 10,000 on Monday.