Inder Patel,a resident of Gujarat,who has been deported by the US authorities for possessing and travelling on a stolen passport from Chandigarh,was remanded in two-day police custody here on Monday.
Patel was arrested from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on January 15 for travelling on one of the 48 passports stolen from the Chandigarh RPO in October 2007.
Patel had gone to New York in June 2008 after getting a work permit visa through a travel agent in Gujarat on a payment of Rs 25 lakh. According to the Mumbai police,he was probably unaware that the passport was stolen.
The police said Patel was arrested by the US authorities soon after he landed there last year and was kept in jail for seven months till his deportation formalities were completed with the Indian authorities.
The local Regional Passport Office (RPO) then received a communication from Delhi about a person being deported to India. The RPO swung into action and passed on the information to the Crime Branch,which is investigating the stolen passport case.
Crime Branch officers said that the Ahmedabad-based travel agent had links with Gurjinder Singh alias Lucky,the kingpin of a human trafficking racket. Lucky (34),was arrested by the Crime Branch in October 2008.
The Chandigarh Police,meanwhile,has decided to seek the help of the Gujarat Police in tracing the travel agent. The police officers said they have identified the agent,who allegedly stole 48 passports from the RPO after conniving with some local officials.
We will seek help of the Gujarat Police and will try find how many people have been sent abroad by the travel agent on stolen passports. Inder Patel claimed that as he was the only one detained by the authorities in the US,he does not know about how many people have been sent abroad on forged documents,” a police officer said.
Sources said the travel agent runs one of his agencies in Ahmedabad and is known for sending people abroad on work-permit visas.