KOLKATA: Police here has stumbled upon one of the largest gangs dealing in fake passport which could have facilitated the illegal entry of Pakistani and Bangladeshi residents into India through Punjab and West Bengal.

In a six-day operation, 275 fake passports have been recovered, many of which had the stamps of Pathankot and Gurudaspur in Punjab and Burdwan and Murshidabad in Bengal. All these areas have witnessed terror attacks recently.

Police have arrested seven people including a Bangladeshi, Hafeez Sk, who delivered the forged passports. Working from Noida, he had eight passports, six of them original.

Seeking custody of the gang members, the police told the court they could be involved in the recent terror attacks. “The fact that many of the passports seized were actually expired ones from Ludhiana shows the reach of the gang,” said the police, adding most of the fake passports were meant for Bangladeshi nationals.

The police got the leads with the arrest of Tusi Barik from Hatiara near airport who apparently looked after the functioning of the racket in Keshtopur. The ex-wife of a master forger, Tusi, caught with fake voter’s ID cards, led cops to Jia-ud-din from Jatragacchi in Rajarhat. Jia, in turn, spilled the beans on other members, Debabrata and Saraswati Mondal. The latest arrests came on Thursday, where gang members Surajit Dutta and Chittaranjan Manna were picked up from Keshtopur.

Interrogations have revealed Chittaranjan alias Mama had employed Tusi and the others for a monthly pay. Mama, said police, took orders from Noida and Surajit, a computer diploma holder, forged passports.

“It is a complex structure that the gang maintains,” said Jawed Shamim, Bidhannagar commissioner. “The Noida ‘high command’ tells Mama the name for whom a passport has to be forged. While Surajit is a master forger, some other members get hold of lost and stolen passports. The fake passports show they were ‘issued’ from Bengal, Punjab and Delhi,” said police.

Sources said an “applicant” had to supply the gang his/her photo. “The papers carried fake signatures of Bengal and Punjab state officers, along with their seals. The signatures were that of Murshidabad ARO and Dum Dum civic chairman,” said ADCP

The police have also seized fake voter’s ID and Aadhar cards as well as forged Madhyamik marksheets, which were reportedly used to seek admission to New Town institutes.
Source: TOI-Kol