Kerala: Six held in Thumba passport forgery case, suspended cop absconding

Group also provided fake ID cards to criminals | Case to be registered against absconding cop
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.Photo | Express illustrations

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major crackdown, the Thumba police have arrested six persons engaged in obtaining passports illegally by using forged documents.

Prasanth, 40, who was directly involved in forging documents, was booked by the police on Sunday. Three accused persons – Sunilkumar, 60, from Varkala, Edward, 62, from Vattapara and Kamalesh, 39, from Manacaud – were arrested on Saturday, while two others – Safarullah Khan, 54, and Badharudheen, 65, from Kollam were arrested on Friday. As per the police, Kamalesh was an agent who altered the documents to apply for passports.

Meanwhile, Ansil Azees, a senior civil police officer from Thumba station, was added to the list of accused, after he was suspended, for allegedly heading the group. He is absconding. The police’s intelligence division too had confirmed the officer’s involvement.

Kazhakkoottam ACP N Babukuttan said a case will be registered against Ansil. Police are also scrutinising 13 files that Ansil had “verified” and sent for issuing passports. The police also found that the group provided fake ID cards to criminals.

Safarullah Khan spilled the beans on Ansil’s involvement during interrogation. As per the information the police received, Ansil facilitated the crime while working in the passport verification section. The police suspect he helped create fake documents for several people and around 13 passports were obtained illegally in this manner.

The crime came to light after the passport office, suspecting the authenticity of some verified documents submitted along with passport applications, sent them back to the Thumba SHO on May 31 for re-verification.

As per the police, the gang reportedly collected money from people who required passports and applied for one using fake addresses sourced from within the Thumba police’s jurisdiction. Though Ansil knew the documents were fake, he would verify them as genuine and send them to the passport office. It was found that the gang even used documents of a person who died 17 years ago to obtain a passport.

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