CBI raids Passport Seva Kendra centres in Mumbai over alleged corruption, registers 12 cases

They said the agency conducted a joint surprise check at the Passport Seva Kendra centres in which "large-scale corruption" was detected.
Last Updated : 29 June 2024, 13:08 IST

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Mumbai: In a major swoop, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out raids in multiple locations as part of a probe into the alleged large-scale corruption in Passport Seva Kendra (PSKs) in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra.

The CBI has registered 12 cases against 32 suspects.

This is one the biggest operations in recent times to weed out corruption from the passport offices.

These include 14 officials posted as Passport Assistants, Senior Passport Assistants posted in PSKs and 18 passport facilitation agents/touts.

According to available information, searches were conducted in 33 locations in Mumbai and Nashik.

Raids are carried out at PSKs, Lower Parel and Malad in Mumbai, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Mumbai office of the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

“It was alleged that these officers were in regular contact with passport facilitation agents and conspiring with them to obtain undue advantage in lieu of issuance of passport based on inadequate/incomplete documents or by manipulating the personal particulars of passport applicants,” a CBI press statement said on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Joint Surprise Checks (JSC) were conducted at PSK, Parel and PSK, Malad along with the Vigilance Officers of the Passport Seva Programme (PSP) Division, MEA and officers of RPO Mumbai. During the JSC, the office desks and mobile phones of the suspect officers were analyzed jointly by the CBI team and Vigilance Officers of PSP, Division, MEA.

“The analysis of documents, social media chats and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) ID activities of suspect public servants revealed various suspicious transactions by some officials of PSKs indicating demand and acceptance of undue advantage through the passport facilitation agents for issuance of passports as well as to get passports issued based on inadequate/fake/forged documents,” the apex investigative agency said.

The suspect officers of PSKs, in connivance with various passport facilitation agents / touts, were allegedly receiving huge monetary undue advantages directly in their own bank accounts or in the bank accounts of their near and dear/family members from the passport facilitation agents / touts to the tune of several lakhs of rupees.

Investigations were in progress.

Published 29 June 2024, 13:08 IST

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