A week after the CBI raided the Malappuram passport office and the residence of the passport officer,Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan Wednesday questioned the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) appointment of a Kerala police officer as Malappuram passport officer.
The passport officer,K Abdul Rasheed,a DySP,was appointed passport officer after the UDF government came to power. He was in the security staff of two ministers of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in the previous UDF government. IUML leader and Manjeri Lok Sabha MP E Ahamed is the Union Minister of State for External Affairs.
CBI sources in Kochi said the raid was carried out based on complaints that Rasheeds office issued passports after accepting bribe. We have started the probe. If required,the probe would cover the alleged human trafficking through Kozhikode airport with the support of the Malappuram passport office. We have seized money from the officers premises and are ascertaining whether it was accounted or not, said an officer.
Achuthanandan said the MEA,against existing rules,had given a special direction to the Malappuram passport office to allow renewal of cancelled passports. Renewal of cancelled passports is a threat to national security as criminals and persons with terror links would benefit. Why is Malappuram passport office particular about such renewals? he asked.
The CPM leader has sought probe into the role of the passport office in human trafficking of women to the Gulf for sex trade. He said the police have registered 137 cases pertaining to alterations in passports in a short period.