'Sheikh marriage' racket: 8 Arab nationals, Mumbai chief Qazi arrested

Cheryl Sanders
September 21, 2017

He also paid "huge amounts" to brokers and obtained passport of the minor girl by deceitful means and subsequently trafficked the victim by submitting forged documents in the embassy and to other authorities, Reddy said.

Farid Khan, Mumbais chief qazi, allegedly facilitated the trafficking of the teenager to Oman, the city police chief said.

Reddy said they identified as many as 35 local brokers, 25 of them women, who arranged minor girls from poor families for these marriages. From one of these hotels, a sheikh, who was ready to marry a 15-year-old girl, was caught.

Omani agents Khalifa Hamed and Mazaaul Mohammed were also taken into custody. Two of them are in their 80s and walk using sticks.

Owners of four lodges were arrested for providing accommodation to sheikhs and abetting illegal activities. Fifteen brokers are based in the Gulf, identifying the sheikhs interested in marriage.

The Hyderabad police had in the past also busted several contract marriage rackets in the Old City area.

Saeedunnisa had complained to the police that her husband with the help of some brokers "sold" their 16-year-old daughter to a 70-year-old Omani national Ahmed Abdullah Amur Al Rahbi for Rs 5 lakh.

The arrested local brokers include Ahmed, Saeedunnisa's brother Sikandar Khan and the latter's wife Ghousia Begum, who played a key role in performing the marriage. Police said the qazi prepared forged nikahnama as if the marriage was performed at Mumbai. The modus operandi was to trap minor girls by luring them with money, and then practically selling them off to foreigners with the help of quazis who would solemnise the marriages.

In order to prevent these crimes, police issued advisories to the Minority Welfare Departments in India, asking them to publish guidelines for foreign nationals who wish to get married in Hyderabad. "The victims are later exploited not only by the sheikhs but they also pass on the women to others once they reach the Gulf countries", added the police official.

The Commissioner said all the brokers, suspected lodges or guest houses, offices of suspected qazis and other identified places and persons are being geo-tagged with coordinates (longitudes and latitudes).

With the busting of the contract marriage (short-term marriage) racket, the police have foiled attempts by eight sheikhs from Oman and Qatar to marry local girls, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) V Satyanarayana said today.

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