5 held for altering passports; 88 passports seized

HYDERABAD: Five members of an inter-state gang, including its kingpin, were arrested here for allegedly altering passports, reconstructing them and creating counterfeit documents, a senior police official said.

A total of 88 passports, besides five fake and forged passports, fake rubber stamps, printer, laptop, scanner and other items from them, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said.

He said police, acting on information, simultaneously raided two office premises of the gang and nabbed the kingpin Mohd Abdul Raheemuddin and his three associates (all from Hyderabad).

Mohammed Shaik Illiyas, a native of Chennai, was also among those arrested, the Commissioner said.

He said Raheemuddin was operating an illegal visa consultancy firm and producing fraudulent documents.

Explaining the gang’s modus operandi, Kumar said they targeted clients intending to go to Canada, the U.S.A, UAE, France, Spain, Italy and other nations for studies or visits.

They prepared fake documents like bank statements, offer letters, employment ID cards, Income proof certificates, IT returns and salary slips, affix fake rubber seals of government departments on them and hand them to clients, who then submitted them to consulate authorities to get visas, he said.

The gang collected original passports from the clients and also amounts ranging from Rs 35,000 to Rs four lakh from each of them, he said.

Illiyas used to obtain original passports through his agents at Chennai, replace names, remove the first page and affix the client’s photograph and signature, change the required data and deliver them to customers, Kumar said.

Police said the others made illegal designs of rubber stamps of government officials, letterheads and illegally manufactured official rubber stamps, immigration stamps and bank seals and supplied them to Raheemuddin.

Raheemuddin so far prepared fake/forged documents for around 400 to 450 clients, some of whom had succeeded and obtained visas and had made an illegal profit of about Rs one crore, police added. PTI

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