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IMMIGRATION TIPS, VISA SCAM

Bengaluru and Hyderabad turns centre for passport-visa frauds

International Passports

International Passports

Bengaluru and Hyderabad have emerged as hubs of passport and visa frauds in South India, especially for visas to the United States of America and the United Kingdom, police sources investigating the racket that smuggled children below 14 years to the U.S., concede.

The large number of people visiting the US and the UK on short work stints from Bengaluru and their vibrant cultural demography offers a cover for those with questionable or fake documents across the country to be also routed through Bengaluru, a police official who earlier worked in the passport division said.

While cases of fake identity documents are considered to be rare, what is more common is submission of fake work experience certificates, fake educational records usually for a business visa, sources said.

Following the alleged child smuggling racket being busted in the city, the police are looking at strengthening the verification process in the city. This comes in the backdrop of even a constable being arrested in September 2015 for colluding and organising passport verification for a sharp shooter to come to the city.

However, police argue that in the child-smuggling case, on-ground police verification was not compromised and the gang had procured all identity papers from relevant agencies, but on impersonated details.

“Tightening the screws in police verification alone will not help. There needs to crack down on all touts who get you PAN cards, EPIC and driving licences. Once you procure any one of these documents based on dubious credentials, procuring the rest of the documents based on these is very easy,” a senior cop said adding that if the person is put up at the address he submitted for these documents, there is little the cops can do.

City police are expected to write to BBMP, transport departments and other agencies in this regard.

Chotta Rajan got a passport from here

The CBI filed a charge sheet on February 3 against three retired regional passport office officials in Bengaluru for a 2003 passport given to gangster Chotta Rajan, under an assumed name of Mohan Kumar from Mandya. It was the same passport that he used to travel from Australia to Indonesia recently when he was arrested.

Thriving business?

The process doesn’t seem to be difficult. Do a web search for passport / visa agents, put your phone number and you will start getting calls from agents offering you passports. One such agent whom The Hindu spoke to said an SSLC marks card was all that was needed and the rest he would manage for Rs. 3,000 and promised a passport within 20 days. He even offered to open a bank account with a new address for the address proof.

Not just that. There are online posts where agents have even advertised to buy you fake identity papers like PAN card, EPIC and driving licence based on which they promise to get you a passport and later visa issued.

PAST INCIDENTS

January 2016: UK visa officials lodge a complaint with CCB against three travel firms in the city for issuing fake immigration stamps. At least eight such cases unearthed

November 2015: Gangster Chhota Rajan revealed to have been holding a fake passport on assumed identity of Mohan Kumar from Mandya. CBI filed a charge sheet in the case last week

September 2015: Probing a shootout in the city, police stumbled on a fake passport ring. A constable, a postman and a Bangalore One employee were arrested among others for arranging identity papers for a sharp shooter to enter the country from Dubai

December 2014: City police arrest a travel agent for getting tourism visas to the US based on forged documents.

Source: The Hindu

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About Ayotunde Aboderin

A professional blogger, an online Journalist and a passionate Immigration and visa Affairs individual.

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