Friday, January 15, 2016

Revealed: How fake passport racket is compromising national security

New Delhi, January 13, 2016 

At a time when the country is facing an increased terror threat, fake Indian passport racket is flourishing in Delhi and other states.

At a time when the country is facing an increased terror threat, fake Indian passport racket is flourishing in Delhi and other states. Foreigners can easily obtain Indian passport by paying for it. But what is more shocking is that there is no mechanism in place to check the racket or weed out  fake Indian passport holders.

An investigation by India Today TV has revealed how foreign nationals from Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh obtain Indian passport without much difficulty.

National security threat

Security agencies face herculean task of locating people who hold such fake Indian passports. It is no secret that the well-oiled racket run in connivance with the officials from passport office.

Police and postal department is also exploited to obtain fake Indian passport to facilitate movement of members of the underworld. Underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Chotta Rajan and Pakistan based terror networks use this racket extensively to fulfil their nefarious aims.  Human and drug traffickers also use the racket in their dirty business.

As it had emerged during one of the biggest recent terror attack in Paris, one of the suicide bombers belonging to the Islamic  State, had managed to enter Paris on a fake Syrian passport. But this is not the first case. In 2000, Pakistani terrorists involved in the hijack of India Airlines IC-814 from Kathmandu airport were found using fake Indian passports.

One of the Pakistani prisoners exchanged in exchange of passengers was Maulana Masood Azhar. On his release, he formed a terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). The JeM's first big terror act was 2001 Parliament  attack which almost brought India and Pakistan on brink of a war. Now, almost after 14 years, the same JeM attacked Pathankot air base with an aim to derail the India-Pakistan dialogue.

Similarly, last month when Chotta Rajan was arrested in Bali, he was found in possession of a fake Indian passport, issued in name of Mohan Kumar, a resident of Mandya, Karnataka.

Investigation reveals that each such passport could cost between Rs 2 to 6 lakh depending upon the urgency of applicant.

Evidence of foreigners with fake passports

Documents accessed by India Today TV, which is part of the court record submitted in the Delhi High Court,  revealed that the Delhi's Regional Passport Office (RPO) issued five passports in 2015 on non-existence addresses in Delhi. In fact these passport applicants were not even Indian national but Nepalese citizens.  The applicant's name, parent/ husband's name, address, file no and date of application are: Paru Sharma D/o Ram Prasad Sharma, R/o K-77, Humanyupur Village, Delhi. File No. DL2068369745215 Dated 06.01.2015. 2) Sumitra Malla D/o Tap Bahadur R/o 65-J, Humanyupur Village, Delhi, File No. DL1068359694015, Dated 06.01.2015. 3) Santosh S/o Rudra Bahadur R/o 65-J, Humanyupur Village, Delhi, File No. DL1068359698615, Dated 06.01.2015. 4). Manisha Dubey W/o Abhisheky Dubey R/o K-77, Humanyupur Village, Delhi. File No. DL1068401678615, Dated 16.01.2015. 5) Barka Yadav W/o Vinod Yadav R/o K-77, Humanyupur Village, Delhi. File No. DL1068401636215, Dated 16.01.2015.

Similarly Afghan nationals Raj Singh (L7016256), Harjeet Kaur (L5794948), Chahat Singh (K7016258), Karan Singh (K7016257), Buneet Singh  (K6373843) were issued fake Indian passports at address A- 206 New Friends Colony (NFC). Another Afghan national, Charan Singh was issued fake passport in name of Rahul Chopra with residential address of B-10, first floor, Kirti Nagar.

India Today TV correspondent visited these addresses and found addresses mentioned in passports either non-existent or building under-construction or non-existent floor (as in case of Kirti Nagar which has no first floor). In Humaypur village, which is adjoining Safdarjung Development Area and located barely at a distance of a kilometre from the RPO Delhi office, the addresses mentioned in passports were non-existent.

None of locals ever heard about these residents. At New Friends Colony and Kirti Nagar, it was found there was an under construction building and non-existent first floor respectively.

Pattern of fake addresses reveals the racketeers carefully zero in on residential addresses, targeting abandoned/under construction houses, and urbanized village houses where residential addresses are confusing  or where original residents have been staying abroad for a long time, to issue fake passports to avoid any suspicion.

Following the disclosure of these fraudulent passports in the court by petitioner Harkrishan Das Nijhawan, general secretary of NGO (Paardarshita Public Welfare Foundation) in January this year, the authorities swung into action. The Delhi Police filed a criminal case and has dismissed ASI Dashrath Singh for allegedly submitting fraudulent police verification report (PVR) that facilitated in making of five passports of Nepalese national.

Need for CBI probe

But Nijhawan is demanding a CBI probe into the racket and has submitted more proof of dubious passports. In a submission made to the Delhi High Court in July 2015, he had submitted list of 18 passports issued to foreigners and others on the basis of fraudulent PVR and 30 passports obtained on basis of fake verification certificates. These kind of certificate is issued to process passport under the Tatkal system. Most of these passports have been allegedly issued by RPO Delhi.

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