An Indian employment agent who charged people thousands of euros after promising them well-paid jobs in Malta is being investigated for fraud.
Police in Hyderabad, India are investigating Anil Kumar Ghanta for alleged “cheating” related to the manipulation of funds and dishonestly taking money from people, according to sources close to the investigation.
Investigations began after Mohammed Idris, who was deported from Malta earlier this month, filed a police report in Hyderabad last week. He is one of several people charged in Malta for providing false documents to Identità.
In the report, Idris said it was Ghanta who provided him with a false rental agreement, among other documents.
Times of Malta understands that at least two other individuals have given statements to the Indian police against Ghanta since then.
Idris explained in the report how, in the first half of 2022, he paid around €5,500 to Abroad Study Plan, an employment agency owned by Ghanta, for a job in Malta. Idris was given his visa and travelled to Malta in July.
“There (in Malta) Ghanta Anil Kumar provided fake documents like rental agreement, Housing Authority approval and medical approval also,” the report filed by Idris reads.
Ghanta did not provide any job for Idris, the report says.
On January 16, Idris was charged with and convicted of giving false information to a public authority and committing forgery. The charges came after Idris submitted a leasing agreement that included a forged signature and a false Housing Authority approval.
In comments to Times of Malta, Idris said he was unaware of wrongdoing when he submitted the documents but pleaded guilty to avoid jail time.
“I was given two options: either defend myself but remain in jail while my case was heard or plead guilty and be deported,” Idris said yesterday via a family member who translated his comments.
“I couldn’t stay in jail. My family was already very worried and my wife almost had a heart attack.”
Contacted by Times of Malta, Ghanta confirmed the Indian police questioned him but said he was only asked to clarify events. He claimed he is not responsible for providing housing or medical documents.
“I’m responsible only for employment documents and the job,” he said, adding: “I’m not [a] rental agency or a medical clinic to give documents.”
Ghanta said he never provided forged documents to his clients.
“I gave genuine documents to my clients to get a visa and residency permits but, as everyone knows, medical and housing documents they [clients] need to submit.”
He said reports against him are aimed at damaging his “consultancy’s reputation”.
Ghanta has continued promoting Malta as a work destination with his company and uploaded a new YouTube video promoting Malta as a work destination last Friday.
Meanwhile, two other Indian nationals, Kandala Siva and Dasari Saiteja, were charged with forging documents but, unlike Idris, they pleaded not guilty and were denied bail. They claimed that they unknowingly submitted forged housing documents.
In court on Tuesday, two Identità officials explained how the agency zeroed in on a Naxxar apartment after investigations showed that a person filed forged leasing agreement and Housing Authority documents listing the Naxxar apartment as their address.
After this, Identità asked the apartment’s owner to provide them with a list of all the people who had a lease agreement.
Both Siva and Saiteja were not on the list despite providing documents to Identità saying they were living in the Naxxar apartment.
The two were then asked to go to Identità offices for a meeting with the compliance office. After they were questioned, they were taken into police custody.
In their cross-examination, defence lawyers Alex Scerri Herrera and Matthew Xuereb argued that Siva and Saiteja were not informed that their case was a criminal matter and were not informed of a right to a lawyer during Identità’s questioning.
The Identità officials were also unaware of the dates the lease agreements were signed and a declaration by the owner of the Naxxar apartment, which said Siva and Saiteja were not on the lease agreement, was not dated.
Herrera also suggested that the documents that the two accused presented to Identità might already have been signed when they were initially given the documents, meaning they could have been unaware that the document was forged.
According to one of the Identità officials, Saiteja said he was given the housing document by a friend. Still, Siva mentioned Ghanta by name when asked where he got the Housing Authority document from.