The Bombay High Court has declined bail to a 60-year-old Finland national booked for helping a Sri Lankan woman to illegally migrate to Europe while maintaining the offence was of “serious” nature and “immigration officers of this country were deceived”. The court also denied bail to the Lankan national.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal last week rejected the bail pleas of Sri Lankan national Kuhapriya Thevarasa and Finland national Pasma Miira Mirva Helena Pasma, filed through advocates S G Rajput and Shilpi Jain, respectively.
Pasma was arrested from Ahmedabad on June 30 last year, two days after Kuhapriya was found carrying a forged French passport, issued in the former’s name, from the Mumbai airport. Kuhapriya was stopped from boarding a flight to Frankfurt after airline employees raised suspicion and handed her over to police.
Preliminary probe revealed Kuhapriya had entered the airport with an air ticket for Ahmedabad, and Pasma had a French passport along with a ticket for the Frankfurt flight. Pasma allegedly passed on the forged passport to Kuhapriya after she cleared immigration checks. Pasma’s interrogation revealed she was in contact with an agent illegally sending Sri Lankan citizens to European countries on forged documents.
Pasma had told the court the charges of human trafficking and cheating could not be levelled against her as none was being trafficked for exploitation. Advocate Anamika Malhotra, for the police, said every circumstance pointed to an active participation of both accused. Justice Kotwal noted there was no material to prove at this stage there was an intention to exploit anyone, however, there was enough material to support other charges. “The offence is serious. The immigration officers of this country were deceived. Indian territory was used for personal gain,” the court said. It added that a Sri Lankan national carrying a fake passport “could not be described as an innocent victim” and refused her relief.
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