Kulwinder Sandhu, Tribune News Service
Moga, March 15. The local police’s special investigation team arrested a youth at the Amritsar international airport on his arrival from the UK for his alleged involvement in the infamous Moga passport scam.
The special investigation team (SIT) today produced him before Chief Judicial Magistrate Rakesh Gupta who sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.
The accused, Avtar Singh of Shahkot in Jalandhar, allegedly got made his passport by changing his name and address. He changed his name to Balwinder Singh Cheeda and mentioned Guru Ram Dass Nagar as his local address even though he never lived in Moga town. He also managed to get UK’s visa on the basis of his “fake” passport through a travel agent and went to the UK to settle there.
When he landed at Amritsar, the immigration authorities, during a cross-check of his documents, found that his passport was made on forged documents. They detained him and informed about it to the Moga police, after which he was arrested.
Last week, the SIT had also arrested a Nawanshahr resident, Balkar Singh, at the Delhi international airport as soon as he landed from Portugal. He was also “involved” in the fake passport scam. He had gone to Saudi Arabia from where he proceeded to Denmark in 2005. When his passport expired, he allegedly managed to get it renewed on a fake address of Baghapurana town in Moga district and went to Portugal.
Over 80 persons, including 14 travel agents and 53 others who were issued passports on forged documents, have been arrested so far. Lookout notices have been issued against more than 350 persons who had fled the country on fake passports. The trial of the case is going on at the district and sessions’ court in Faridkot.
The Case file
An FIR under Sections 420, 465, 468, 471 of the IPC, Section 2/8 of the Passport Act and Sections 13 (2), 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered in July 2008. Three policemen, Jaswinder Singh, Ranjit Singh and Gurdial Singh; Ranjit Singh, an employee of the Municipal Council; Om Prakash, a postman and Didar Singh, former employee of the RPO, Chandigarh, were the kingpins.
The modus operandi was that the police employees posted between the years 1995 and 2008 in the passport/security branch in Moga prepared fake documents of police verifications and then by manipulating with the travel agents or employees of the RPO office tampered with the official records, forging the documents of age, education, address proof, marriage certificates and others.