The Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested four men on Friday for allegedly creating and selling forged inter-district e-passes to people in need of travel permission on an emergency basis.
Police identified the accused as Abdul Karim Shaikh (35), Sameer Shaikh (36), and Noor Mohammed Shaikh (39), who work at a travel agency. A Vasai resident, Vinay Parte (36), was also arrested. He runs a computer and typing class.
According to police, officials from Unit III of the Crime Branch got a tip-off about e-passes being sold on the black market earlier this month, and made contact with the accused by posing as people in urgent need of travel permission, seeking e-passes only issued online by police.
Passes are only issued to those who need to travel to another district for medical emergencies, such as a death in the family or for a serious illness, and to stranded migrant workers, tourists, and students. Applicants are required to furnish personal details, identification, medical documents in case of a medical emergency, and details of vehicle and driver. E-passes are only sent by QR code to mobile phones of applicants after police carry out verification, a process that takes a few days to several weeks.
Police said the officials received a forged e-pass, issued in the name of the Mumbai Police and the Thane District Collector, on WhatsApp for a small fee without having to provide any documentation.
An official of the Crime Branch said the accused from the travel agency were selling forged e-passes to people unwilling to wait for police approval for travel requests.
The official further said they would pass on details of customers to Parte, who would use image editing software to create forged passes and use QR code generating tools to send links of the e-passes to customers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines