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Indian student jailed in Australia in bribery scam

Source: PTI
March 27, 2012 10:28 IST
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An Indian student was sentenced to 14 months in jail for his involvement in a bribery scam under which the English test scores used for granting Australian permanent residency and visas were falsified.

A local court in Perth on Monday sentenced Rajesh Kumar, who had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bribery between November 2009 and June 2010. The court heard that Kumar became an intermediary in the scam and personally received between $ 32,000 and $ 44,000.

Kumar also paid for his own International English Testing System results falsified by Kok Keith Low, an employee of Perth-based Curtin University.

Nine others had been convicted and sentenced in relation to the bribery case, after the state's Corruption and Crime Commission charged 12 people with a total of 73 offences, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Kumar arranged the payments through another Indian national Pritesh Shah who worked at a local service station. Shah, in turn, paid off another man, former Indian national Abdul Kader, who was living with Low, and arranged with him to have Kumar's IELTS results falsified to help him with a work visa application. Kumar then started "spruiking" the scheme to other Indian students and taking a cut of up to $ 6,000 per bribe. Low has already been jailed for two years on 15 counts of bribery, Kader to 18 months on 14 counts, and Shah one year on 14 counts.

Others who were variously involved in the scam were jailed for between seven and nine months, suspended in each case, or received a fine of $ 20,000.       

Describing Kumar's role in the scam as that of a "spruiker", Judge Jeremy Curthoys said his actions compromised the integrity of the Australia's migration scheme and made it more difficult for genuine visa applicants to be accepted where there were quotas in place. "It was greed -- pure and simple," Curthoys said in handing down the sentence.

Kumar's sentence was backdated to November 2 and he will be eligible for parole.

Under the Australian immigration laws, applicants for permanent residency, work or student visas are required to get a minimum 7.0 pass in four English subjects under the IELTS.

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