The Sahar police arrested two immigration officials at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Monday for allegedly allowing several people to fly abroad using forged passports. Investigations have revealed the role of several travel agents who gave flyers passports belonging to their wives and children and instructed them to approach a specific desk at immigration check where the accused officials sat, the police said. Thus far, the police have arrested immigration agents Anil Surase and Harshal Patil; travel agents Gaurav Singh, Mohammad Ali Mukadam and Mustakali Kapde; and Gujarat native Komalben Dabgar, one of the passengers who flew with a forged passport.
In the application seeking custody of Surase and Patil, the police said the fraud came to light on May 8 when Dabgar was deported from Canada after authorities at Vancouver airport discovered that her passport was registered in the name of Mumbai resident Tripti Kaur and only had Dabgar’s picture on it.
The police were then led to a group of agents, among them was Tripti Kaur’s father Manjit Singh. The police told the court that Singh, who is absconding, used Tripti’s passport to send five different women abroad since July 2015. On each occasion, the passport would be sent back to him through courier. Singh allegedly had also used the passport of his son Gaurav to send five men abroad. Both Kaur and Singh are wanted, the police said.
According to the police, arrested agent Mukadam used his wife Shaheen Mukadam’s passport to send one woman abroad in December 2016, apart from two other young woman who posed as his daughter Sunaina and Sara, the police said. The police added that between July 2015 and December 2016, arrested agent Kapde allegedly managed to help 10 different woman travel overseas using the passport of his wife Arifa Kapde. His sons Faiz Kapde and Adil Kapde also allegedly lent their passports to two men each to travel abroad in the same time period, the police said.
The police has also named travel agent Imtiyaz Mukadam for allegedly facilitating 15 different women to travel board using passports registered under the names of his wife Raziyabano Mukadam and daughters Aysesha and Mahek. A senior official added the police were also investigating a travel agent named Mehboob Kasamali Gangji for allegedly helping eight women fly out of the country using passports belonging to his wife Shehzan and daughter Roshni.
Once the flyers reached the airport, they were instructed to approach counter 36, where Surase was posted, when their turn came to clear immigration. Surase, who has been working as an immigration officer for the past six years, allegedly cleared them to fly. Patil, the police said, did the same at the counter he was stationed at, overlooking the fact that the pictures of on the passport handed over by the passenger was different from that in the central database.
About the roles of Surase and Patil, public prosecutor Neeta Pasarkar told the court, everything is linked. The pictures of the passengers cleared to travel is different in each place but the passport number is the same. Different women travelled with the same passport. All of the accused are involved in human trafficking.”
Surase and Patil (33) were produced at the Andheri court on Tuesday where a magistrate remanded them to police custody till June 16.