New Delhi, Jan 27 (Agencies): Days after 1500 students faced deportation from the US after authorities raided and shutdown a university, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday asked the Indian Consulate in San Francisco to investigate the matter, a TV news channel reported.

The move came after media reported the shutdown of Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton on charges of a massive immigration fraud. According to a federal complaint filed in a California court, the university, which was raided and shut down last week, helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status.

The university is said to have 1,555 students. As many as 95 per cent of these students are Indian nationals, the complaint said.
Sources said that government is expected to discuss the issue of dubious universities with the American authorities in India.

Sources added that the government feels that it is important to establish how so many visas could be given to study at such dubious institutions.

Investigations by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) found that while students were admitted to various residential and online courses of the university and on paper lived in California, in reality they "illegally" worked in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

ICE has called it as a "sham university." The ICE investigations found that more than half of these students were reported to be residing in a single apartment located in Sunnyvale California.

The Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a major suburb in San Francisco Bay Area, has been charged by federal investigating authorities with being part of an effort to defraud, misuse visa permits and indulge in money laundering and other crimes.

Indian students interrogated

Several Indian students of a California-based University shut down by authorities on charges of illegal immigration were interrogated in Washington on Thursday.

Duped by the authorities of Tri-Valley University, which has now been shut down, hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, faced the threat of being deported back home after having lost their student visa status.

Reports from the San Francisco area said a number of students have been interrogated by federal authorities as part of their investigation against the Tri-Valley University, which is being charged of part of an effort to defraud, misuse visa permits, and indulge in money laundering and other crimes.
 
Investigations by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) found that while students were admitted to various residential and on-line courses of the university and on paper lived in California, but in reality they "illegally" worked in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

ICE has called it as a "Sham University".

The university is said to have 1,555 students. As many as 95 per cent of these students are Indian nationals, the complaint said. The students are reported to have paid lakhs of rupees for obtaining a visa for their category and also for students work permit.

The ICE investigations found that more than half of these students were reported to be residing in a single apartment located in Sunnyvale California.

During the course of the investigation ICE found that the university gave the residential address of its students in order to conceal that they did not live in California, said the court papers.

For a student to maintain an active immigration status, they must show proof that they are making reasonable process toward completing coursework and physically attending classes.

Federal investigating authorities are now sweeping out on every such student, who paid lakhs for obtaining students visa and also students work permit.

Several of them have been interrogated, thus creating a panic reaction among the Indian student community.

It is understood that many of these students are planning to leave the country as soon as possible as they are being interrogated.