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WB passport scam: CBI arrests four officials

New Delhi: The CBI has arrested four officials of the Regional Passport Office in Kolkata in connection with a racket in which passports were issued to Nepalese citizens based on forged documents, officials said.

The arrested officials — senior passport assistants Uttam Kumar, Debasis Bhattacharjee and Nishit Baran Saha and stenographer Manish Kumar Gupta — were presented before a special court in Gangtok recently, which remanded them to CBI custody till October 25, they said.

The agency had earlier arrested two RPO officials and four agents in connection with the matter.

The officials were allegedly part of the racket, which had processed 60 passport applications of Nepalese citizens based on forged Indian identity cards showing them as locals in two months in exchange for hefty bribes.

The CBI had alleged that the applications were collected by middlemen, who would also prepare fake identity cards for the Nepalese citizens and submit the applications at the Passport Laghu Seva Kendra in Gangtok, where RPO, Kolkata officials were posted on a rotational basis.

The agents, in collusion with passport department officials, managed police verification and postal officials, the CBI has alleged.

Once processed, the agents bribed the postman who would deliver the passport to them and not the fake address mentioned on the application. The agents allegedly handed over these passports personally to the applicants and collected the payments and distributed them among the officials in Gangtok, Siliguri and Kolkata.

(Published 23 October 2023, 09:30 IST)

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