Gang that sent Indians to U.K. on bogus passports busted

Crime Branch nabs three accused after couple that paid them ₹30 lakh to obtain fake documents spill the beans at airport

At least 10 to 15 Indian nationals who are settled in the United Kingdom entered the country in 2017 using bogus passports, according to an investigation by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch.

The Crime Branch Unit VIII recently busted a gang of forgers in Mumbai that produced bogus passports using fake documents and sold them to Indians who aspired to work in the U.K. but were unable to secure visas owing to various reasons.

Immigration check

According to the Crime Branch officers, they learnt about the racket in February this year when a couple flying to Dubai was stopped at the Immigration Desk for a routine check. “The Immigration Officer smelled a rat as their passports stated that they were residents of Mumbai, but they evidently seemed new to the city. After sustained inquiries they confessed that they had obtained the passports using forged documents. The case was then handed over to us,” a Unit VIII officer said.

The duo, identified as Hitesh and Mita Patel, were arrested. During interrogation, they spilled the beans on the racket. “According to the couple, those with the surname ‘Patel’ wishing to work in the U.K. face many difficulties in getting visas. So they approached a gang in Mumbai that offered to get them passports under aliases in exchange for ₹15 lakh each,” said Akbar Pathan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection I).

The gang members allegedly prepared a set of fake documents, including a leave and licence agreement for address proof, to obtain a passport from the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai. They then sent the clients on a trip to Dubai as their passports need an entry and exit stamp from at least one other country to qualify for a work visa in the U.K. The Patels were flying to Dubai when they were intercepted.

A Unit VIII officer said, “Working on the information, we arrested three gang members from various parts of the city over the last week. Inquiries revealed that they have sent 10 to 15 people to the U.K. since 2017. Once in the U.K., their clients tear up their passports, take up low-paying jobs for two to three years and apply for a new visa citing their work experience and clean record.”

The officer said the accused, identified as Manish Ghogari, Amit Agarwal and Bhavesh Shah, were preparing to send four more people to the U.K. when they were arrested. The police have seized from the accused 14 passports, 11 PAN cards and eight rubber stamps forged in the name of various government agencies.

“The accused have contacts in the U.K. who recommended them to Indians and the racket ran on word of mouth publicity. We are finding out details of the people they sent to the U.K. so that relevant authorities can be informed,” the officer said.

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