The arrested qazis include the chief qazi of Mumbai, Farid Ahmed Khan, who sued to facilitate the marriages.
Indian police Wednesday claimed to have busted a major global marriage racket, with the arrest of 17 people, including eight Arabs, in the southern city of Hyderabad.
The police focused more on the Old City child marriages racket after the recent instance of a fake Omani Shaikh marrying a minor girl, who later begged her parents to rescue her from his clutches.
The police have also identified 35 local brokers including 25 women, who help sheikhs select the girls and perform the marriages with the connivance of qazis.
"A total of 17 people, including eight sheikhs from the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, and four Indian Muslim clerics, were nabbed from various parts of Hyderabad city for alluring young Indian girls into marrying middle-aged and aged Arabs", a police official said. They play the main role in the racket by identifying vulnerable families that are ready to sell away their daughters out of poverty. "Police teams including women constables will go and monitor their activities constantly", City Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy said.
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. However, the brokers pay nearly nothing to the family of the victim.
The accused are identified as Al Mayahi Habib Ali Issa, Al Salhi Talib Humeid Ali, Al Ubaidani Juma Shinoon Sulaima, Al Salehi Nasser Khalifa Hamed and Al Qasimi Hassan Mazaaul Mohamed from Oman, Omer Mohammed Seraj Abdal Rahman, Hamad Jabir O Al-Kuwari and Safeldin Mohamed Mohamednour Salih from Qatar along with others Qazis, brokers and lodge owners.
Police opened suspect sheets against 38 local brokers, four lodge owners and Qazis who are resorting to illegal activities. Police said the qazi prepared forged nikahnama as if the marriage was performed at Mumbai. He said the foreigner must produce NOC from his country, gap between husband and wife should not be more than 10 years and the foreign national should also take into confidence the local police before marriage. The police are planning face-to-face programmes of the victims with the officials of Minority Welfare department to put a tab on the heinous crime.