20 people including three Qatari and five Omani sheikhs have been arrested as police in Hyderabad claimed to have busted a ‘contract marriage racket’ that involved qazis marrying off underage Indian girls from poor families to rich Arabs.
Besides the eight Arabs, police said it had arrested three qazis, four lodge owners and five brokers/agents who mediated to get such marriages solemnized.
“We busted the ‘contract marriage’ (short-term marriage) racket and foiled attempts by eight sheikhs from Arab, Oman and Qatar to marry local girls,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) V Satyanarayana said.
“Two minor girls have been rescued. Preliminary investigation has revealed that through the contract marriages, these people planned to traffic at least 20 women and minor girls,” the senior police officer was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Further probe was on into the racket, he said.
The Hyderabad police had in the past also busted several contract marriage rackets in the Old City area wherein such marriages were performed aided by fabricated documents.
The modus operandi of the agents in such rackets is to trap minor girls from poor families by luring them with money, and then practically selling them off to foreigners with the help of priests who solemnise the marriages, police earlier said.
At the time of marriage, the bride is made to sign blank bond papers of ‘talaq’, they said.