Five Omani and three Qatari nationals along with three qazis were arrested after an Arab marriage racket, involving minor girls, was busted by Hyderabad police on Wednesday.

The arrested qazis include the chief qazi of Mumbai, Farid Ahmed Khan, who used to facilitate the marriages.

Four lodge owners and five brokers of Hyderabad have also been held.

Hyderabad police commissioner M Mahender Reddy told media that the Arab sheikhs were marrying minor girls with the help of brokers, qazis and lodge owners.

Charges under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 420 (cheating and dishonest), 370 (exploitation), rape and POCSO Act have been filed,” said Reddy.

According to media reports, the Arabs had come to the city with a budget seeking for brides. They were residing in local lodges and the houses of brokers. The modus operandi of the racket was to target poor families with minor girls and lure the families with a promise of better life in the Arab countries for their daughters.

The racket, which has reached to Oman and other Arab countries, was busted during the investigation into a case registered last month in Falaknuma area of the old city of Hyderabad.

A woman had complained to the police that her husband with the help of some brokers ‘sold’ their minor daughter to a 70-year-old Omani national Ahmed Abdullah.

The girl is stuck in Oman.

The police chief said efforts were underway to rescue the girl from Oman.

(With agency inputs)