Passports: Middlemen arrested

Sleuths from Central Crime Branch (CCB) have arrested three middlemen who took money and procured passports for applicants by using their contacts in the Regional Passport Office.

 Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime-East) S Murugan told Deccan Herald that investigations were on to ascertain whether any official from the Regional Passport Office was hand-in-glove with the arrested men.

The police have prepared a list of 61 passports the group had obtained for its clients. The police have verified 35 of these passports and the documents were genuine in 34 cases. In one case, fake birth certificate had been submitted to get the passport.

It is suspected that the applicant’s parents had submitted a fake document, the sources said.

The arrested have been identified as Khaleel, Mujahid and Chand Pasha. A case has been registered against them in the HAL police station.

CCB sources told Deccan Herald that two journalists from a prominent Kannada news channel had conducted a sting operation on the group that used to procure passports, some times on the strength of fake documents.

The group leader, who was caught on the camera during the sting, reportedly threatened the journalists of dire consequences if they aired the recordings. He had been tipped off allegedly by a senior journalists working for the same channel. Worried about their safety, the two journalists approached CCB, which in turn arrested the three men.

The police have questioned the senior journalist but have not arrested him, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Devaraj. The senior scribe, it is alleged, was using a SIM that had been obtained fraudulently by providing a Gulbarga address.

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