This is the second time that the police are pursuing the proposal for a detention centre for such people, the official said.
The police department has moved a proposal with the Maharashtra government for setting up a detention facility for foreigners overstaying in the state, officials said on Saturday.
Most of the foreign nationals, who stayed back in India after the expiry of their visas, are from poor countries in the African continent and also from neighbouring Bangladesh. Many of them are involved in drug trafficking syndicates and other criminal activities, an official said.
This is the second time that the police are pursuing the proposal for a detention centre for such people, he said.
Earlier, a detention centre was proposed in Navi Mumbai but the plan didn't materialise.
This issue was discussed at the government level three years ago when the protests regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) were on.
Now, with the new proposal for setting up a detention centre, the police have identified the location and are waiting for the government's final nod for approving the facility, he said.
The senior official, however, refused to disclose the location of such a facility.
The detention facility will be created considering the human rights of the foreign nationals and the government will provide all the basic facilities like accommodation, food, medical treatment etc, he said.
The official said the new detention facility in Maharashtra will be on the lines of a Delhi-based centre for illegal foreign nationals.
Many times, foreign nationals from some countries come to the financial capital on tourist, student, medical and business visas. However, most of them get involved in drug syndicates and cyber frauds in the guise of doing business, the senior police official told PTI.
"More than 7,000 Africans, mostly from Nigeria, are currently roaming in Mumbai and other cities without proper documents," he said.
Many of them are staying in parts of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Mira Road, and Vasai in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and also in other parts of the state.
In the Mumbai region, Africans are mostly found involved in organised drug syndicates and cyber frauds, he said, adding that as many Nigerians living in Mumbai are found involved in online cheating, these cases are often termed as "Nigerian frauds".
Recently, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Anti-Narcotics Cell of Mumbai Police busted a multi-crore synthetic drug syndicate. Many of the arrested persons are Nigerians.
They have formed small gangs and run their syndicates of drug trafficking, the official explained.
Many foreign nationals, who come to India for genuine work, complete their work and return, he said.
Many times, African nationals, who come in the guise of doing business or as tourists tear their passports, visas, and citizenship-related documents after landing in Mumbai, which makes it difficult for law enforcers to establish their identity, the official said.
It is a lengthy process to contact authorities in other countries and provide details of the person, concerned to find out his antecedents, he said.
The process of repatriation of illegal migrants takes time. If a foreign national is found involved in a criminal case, he is deported once his/her jail term is over as per the legal process, the official said.
If such foreigners are not detained, there is a possibility that they may fall into criminal activities, again due to which police restrict their movement with requisite orders.
The detention facility will be created for such foreign nationals for their stay between the period of completion of the term and the scheduled deportation date.
On average, 400 people from different countries staying in Mumbai and Maharashtra without valid documents are deported or repatriated every year as per the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), he said.
The number of African and Bangladeshi nationals is higher in the deportations, he said.
Many times, police face difficulties if an African is in their custody. Given the delay by their countries in accepting them back, the burden of expenses for their accommodation, food, and clothes falls on local police, the official said.
Sometimes, to avoid deportation, these illegal migrants commit crimes like assaulting policemen or other people due to which a new case is registered and their stay automatically gets extended in view of the time needed to complete the legal process of the new crime, he said.
The official said these foreign nationals also use another modus operandi to marry Indian women, which enables them to avail of the benefit of the spouse of an Indian national.
Sometimes, the marriage is just a formality to save themselves from the law enforcement agencies, he added.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)