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Immigration officials discover fake documents at KIA

Immigration officials believe to have stumbled on a racket that aided Indians to get employed overseas by illegal means. They detained three people on arrival at the Kempegowda International Airport who travelled with passports containing fake validations. Labhu Ram, the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), said the three, including a woman, had been handed over to Bengaluru International Airport police on March 9. Unable to get a work visa, the three went to Malaysia on a tourist visa and got their passports validated with fake seals by travel agents without them having to get out of that country. Another person was arrested on similar offences on March 1. Police said travel and passport agents had duped the arrested people with jobs abroad. While one agent sent them on tourist visas, passport agents created fake employment passes for them on arrival and got them employed. They affixed fake signatures of Indian immigration officials with fake arrival and departure seals to ensure their clients are not caught in India. On suspicion, immigration officials detained Mithun Bhai Tulsibhai Khunt, 45, a resident of Surat, Gujarat. Khunt arrived at the KIA from Kuala Lumpur on March 9. Officials found his documents had been tampered with. They found that Khunt, a high school dropout, had a job offer from Mumbai Kiran Games as a manager. He flew to Kuala Lumpur on May 19, 2018, from Hyderabad on a tourist visa. But immigration officials denied him entry into Kuala Lumpur on arrival and sent him back to Hyderabad.

Undeterred, Khunt flew once again to Malaysia from Chennai and met Jignesh Maaru, an agent from Gujarat. The agent got him a job as a waiter at a restaurant in Malaysia. When Khunt wanted to visit his family back home, Maaru told him he could not travel to India as he was an illegal immigrant in Malaysia. But later, the agent took money from him and got fake arrival and departure seals from Mumbai and Bengaluru, with which the Gujarat man flew back. While checking his papers, officials could not find corresponding arrival or departure documents in their records to match the seals on Khunt’s passport. Chhaya Dineshbhai Gondaliya, 28, an intermediate college dropout from Surat, was also sent from the KIA on a tourist visa to Kuala Lumpur on November 18, 2018. The agent, Jignesh Maaru, received her at KL and promised her a job. Despite staying for four months in the Malaysian capital, Chhaya could not find a job. Since her father suffered from diabetes, she wanted to return to India. Maaru reminded her of her illegal stay in Malaysia and told her she could not get home, but after repeated requests, got fake seals on her passport to enable her return. Hardeep Singh, 25, from Muktsar, Punjab, told officials on detention at the KIA that he paid the agent Kuldeep Singh a large sum for a job offer in Malaysia. On January 31, 2018, Singh flew to Malaysia on a tourist visa from the Amritsar airport.

Having worked in Malaysia for more than a year, Hardeep wanted to visit his family. Kuldeep presented him with forged travel documents and got the fake seals and signatures of immigration officials in Delhi on his passport. On March 1, officials caught Jaswant Singh, a resident of Sangrur, Punjab, who arrived with forged travel documents. An agent named Gurjant Singh had also created a fake work pass for him. The Bengaluru international airport police took up all the four cases under various sections of the Passport Act and booked agents Gurjant Singh, Jignesh Maaru and Kuldeep Singh. Suspecting a larger racket, they are on the lookout for the agents.

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