A woman from Mangalore was deported to India on Friday, 13 years after she travelled to Canada using a fake passport. Now booked for cheating and placed in the custody of the Sahar police station, Anne Flavia Crasto’s only concern is to see her aging mother in Mangalore, who has not yet been informed of her daughter’s expulsion from Canada. According to the police, in September 2004, Crasto, now 52 years old, used a passport registered in another person’s name to travel to Montreal via Mumbai. While the forgery was not detected in India, she was held by immigration authorities at the airport in Montreal. Immediately, she applied to be granted asylum, but her request was rejected.
Over the next decade however, Crasto continued to live in Montreal, working as a house help and sending money to her family in Mangalore. “She got married to an Indian-origin American citizen in Canada. But they got divorced in 2012,” said an officer at the Sahar police station.
The police added that since 2012, Crasto had been making repeated requests for asylum, only for the Canadian court to reject them each time. Earlier this week, after her latest request was denied, the court directed her to return to India and an Emergency Certificate was issued to her by the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, the police said. After she landed at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in the early hours of Friday, immigration authorities took her to the police, where she was booked for cheating Indian authorities to leave the country in 2004.
Later on Friday, she was produced at Andheri court, where public prosecutor Neeta Pasarkar argued that Crasto connived with a travel agent to obtain a fake passport. However, Crasto’s lawyer, advocate Prabhkar Tripathi, argued that she was cheated by her travel agent. “It was the lookout of the agent to ensure that she travelled using a genuine passport. Immigration authorities at Mumbai airport should have verified her passport properly before clearing her to fly to Canada. She is the victim here,” he argued.
The court remanded Crasto to police custody until March 20.
Crasto, Tripathi said, comes from a very poor family in Mangalore, of which no member has been able to come to Mumbai to be with her. After arriving in Mumbai, Crasto was able to contact Leena D’Souza, a neighbour in Mangalore who has since shifted to Mumbai.
D’Souza said that Crasto was not very well educated and must have been duped by her agent. “In those days, people went to agents to get their passports made. Anne’s family is very poor and she went to Canada only to help them out. They were doing alright till the time she was sending money from there. Now, I am not sure what they will do,” she said.
D’Souza added that she had contacted Crasto’s siblings and her priority remains to send her back to her 85-year-old mother. “Her mother has been waiting only for her. She hasn’t been told that Anne has been deported to India – that will give her the shock of her life. We just want that Anne is released and goes home. We don’t know what will happen when her mother sees her,” D’Souza said.