The police have arrested nine persons,including two Afghan nationals who have been living as refugees in India for over 20 years,and the manager of Turkmenistan Airlines in Amritsar,in a case of getting passports made by fraudulent means to help people travel abroad.
While the airlines manager has been identified as Dinesh Kurl,Afghan nationals are Pritam Singh and his wife Ajit Kaur. They were arrested after their extradition from Doha the transit point to Amritsar. According to sources,police came to know of the racket at the time of these Afghan nationals were boarding the flight,but let them go after alerting the authorities in Doha.
Among those arrested is also a head constable,Kulbir Singh posted at division number 6 accused of wrongly verifying the false address that helped Pritam and his family get passports on fake identities. Kulbir,who took Rs 45,000 per passport,is already facing two similar cases in courts,said police.
The couple reportedly paid Rs 14 lakh to one Manwinder Singh alias Rozi to visit Italy with their three children. After getting Rs 14 lakh from Pritam,Manwinder approached one Vishal Saini who stays in Italy. Saini introduced Manwinder to Tajinder Singh,who runs a photostat shop for getting fake documents prepared. Manwinder paid Rs 5 lakh to Saini and Rs 2.5 lakh to Tajinder,who in turn got in touch with the head constable for getting the false verification of the addresses done.
The passports were handed over to Manwinder about a year-and-a-half ago by Tajinder,police said. They added that Manwinder spoke to one Kuldeep Sharma for getting visas for the couple. It was Sharma,who approached Dinesh for the tickets. Qatar Airlines tickets were purchased from Gagan Joshi of Jalandhar,who has also been named in the case registered under the IPC and Passport Act, said an officer.
The passports are issued by genuine authorities,but have been procured after supplying fake documents, Amritsar Commissioner of Police R P Mittal said while addressing the media on Wednesday. He added that for money,Dinesh helped the Afghan nationals get tickets,despite knowing that they were carrying forged passports. He arranged the tickets for Rs 1.99 lakh and later on took another Rs 2 lakh,said Mittal. The police have also arrested one Anil Kumar in the case,who reportedly used to take the passengers to their destinations.
Taking a lenient view,the police have released the children and handed them over to a relative after obtaining permission from court, Mittal said.