Washington, Jan 29 (Agencies): After being duped by a California-based "sham" university, scores of Indian students in the US are now suffering the humiliation of being forced to wear radio collars around their ankles so that authorities can keep track of their movements.

A number of students were interrogated by authorities and also forced to wear radio collars fitted with GPS technology to track their movements.

The students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, may also be deported as authorities shut down Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a major suburb in San Francisco Bay Area, on charges of a massive immigration fraud.

"They (the students) were tagged with some sort of monitoring system placed on their ankles," Jayaram Komati of the Telugu Association of North America told a private Indian channel.

"We heard that (External Affairs Minister) S M Krishna is trying to talk to the State Department. Hopefully this type of pressure will make this much easier (to resolve the issue)," he was quoted as saying.

"We don't know what is happening with the university and the US government. We have been told that we are illegal immigrants," a duped students was quoted as saying by the channel, adding that 100 students of the university, which had a total of 4,400, have been affected.

"We went to the local Senator and the Indian embassy. We also met the local attorney to help us but everyone is saying that this is the deportation process. People from immigration office came to my room and said they needed some information about our college. Before going, they put tags on our ankles and said this is the tracking system."

State Department spokesman P J Crowley on Friday said that any activity involving visa fraud would obviously be of great concern to the US. "The investigation of that is done by law enforcement, obviously with our cooperation, since we are the ones who issue visas."

According to a federal complaint filed in a California court last week, the University helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. The students are reported to have paid lakhs of rupees for obtaining a visa for their category and also for students work  permit.

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, in reality they "illegally" worked in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. ICE called Tri-Valley a "sham university".

India supports its affected students

Voicing concern over the welfare of Indian students affected by the closure of a California-based university, India asserted that students had valid visas and conveyed to the US that they should be given chance to clarify their position.

The students hold valid visas, a senior official said in New Delhi on Friday, adding that India is hopeful they will be given adequate opportunity to clarify their position.

"Our immediate concern is the welfare of students. We are in touch with US federal agencies," a senior official said. India's consul general in San Fransisco also is in touch with students, the official said.

India has sought a report from its missions in the US over the fate of Indian students after American authorities closed down a California-based university on charges of "visa fraud" and illegal immigration.

The issue will be discussed in detail when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao travels to Washington next month.

"We have asked for a report from our embassy and from our consulate general and when a report is issued, we will be taking it up with the government of the US," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had told reporters here on Thursday.

The missions have been instructed also to look into the welfare of Indian students affected by the closure of the Tri-Valley University.