Haj scam: One more arrested

Police seize 29 passports from junior assistant of State Haj Committee

The Bharathinagar police have arrested Hameed Khan from his KG Halli residence in connection with the case and seized 29 passports from him. According to police, Khan, a junior assistant, had allegedly confiscated passports belonging to pilgrims from places such as Bagalkot, Shimoga, Haveri, Tumkur, Chikmagalur, Bhatkal and Bijapur.

Prior to Hameed’s arrest, Ibrahim Khan, another KSHC junior assistant, and Aziz-ur-Rehman, an agent and a volunteer, were arrested for their alleged involvement in cheating people by promising them pilgrimage.  

Modus operandi

According to police, the passports were freshly issued and their holders had authorised the State Haj Committee to collect them from the passport office.

The committee has eight junior assistants assigned to collect passports on behalf of the pilgrims falling under their respective districts. Hameed and Ibrahim were supposed to collect the passports and submit them for visa approval.

“Hameed was in charge of the districts and kept those passports fraudulently. After collecting passports of 29 would-be pilgrims, whose names were selected by lottery, he did not submit them to Central Haj Committee for visa approval. He and Ibrahim ganged up with Aziz and tried to send pilgrims whose names were not selected by lots, by charging Rs 10,000 - 15,000 extra,” police said.

Aziz  had collected close to Rs 9,64,000 from eight persons of Davangere, promising to send them to Mecca. Hameed and Ibrahim held back the 29 pilgrims selected through lottery, citing delay in the arrival of passport.

Instead, they submitted passports of the eight people who paid the money to the Central Haj Committee and tried to accommodate them in the list of pilgrims.

Moinuddin, executive officer, KSHC, said he suspects the involvement of Feroz, another junior assistant at KSHC, who is absconding since November 3. He has suspended Ibrahim and Hameed and directed the police to arrest Feroz at the earliest.

Police said eight of the 29 passports were returned to the their holders.
“We have already spoken to those eight persons and we will speak to the rest 21 people also. We have identified the eight pilgrims from Davangere who had paid bribe to Aziz,” a police offficer said.

Comments (+)