The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gulf, Europe trail in forged passport bust

Two Bangladeshi nationals, Mohammad Rafiqul Islam and Mohammad Mahatabuddin, were arrested in Maniktala late on Monday. The duo was accused of forging passports and arranging illegal visas for a trip to the US.

Sleuths stormed the Bidhan Nivas apartment to find ultra-violet lamps, laminators, three personal computers with Internet telephony, voter-identity cards, some photographs and their Indian and Bangladeshi passports.

Sources said initial investigations revealed that Islam and Mahatabuddin were part of a larger network, stretching to the Gulf and Europe. Interrogations revealed their links with ‘point-men’ in Karachi, Lahore, Sharjah, Copenhagen and some other European cities.

Last week, the two had applied for US visas to TTS Services, a private agency appointed by the consulate to scrutinise applications. Police found the passports accompanying the applications were “forged’’. The address of the two applicants turned out to be different from the one on the visa application form.

Police kept a watch on Bidhan Nivas, the address in the passports of the two applicants, before storming the apartment on Monday night.

“We have reason to believe that they have links with terrorist organisations. The ministry of home affairs has alerted Interpol and security agencies are currently cross-checking their antecedents,’’ an official said.

According to the police, Islam and Mahatabuddin sneaked into the country about a month ago and rented various apartments in Calcutta, before setting up base in Maniktala. The owner of the Bidhan Nivas apartment block, from where the two were picked up, is absconding, Maniktala police said.

Deputy commissioner of police, headquarters, Sivaji Ghosh said the two were produced in court and remanded in police custody for seven days.

Hospital impasse ends

The closure cloud hovering over Peerless Hospital and B.K. Roy Research Centre for the past five days has lifted, with 140-odd employees abandoning their agitation early on Tuesday.

Housekeeping, cleaning and security personnel, on a “go-slow” since last Thursday to protest the hospital management’s refusal to hike wages, cleared the garbage, cleaned the toilets and changed soiled bedsheets before dawn.

“We were all pleasantly surprised to see them back at work, as several rounds of talks had failed to break the deadlock,” said vice-president (marketing and administration) Rupak Barua. Later in the day, senior members of the management met to discuss a long-lasting solution.

It was learnt that the Citu leadership intervened and asked the hospital union members to call off the agitation. A spokesperson for the union, however, maintained on Tuesday that work had never been affected, as “there was no agitation on the hospital premises”.

With a large section of the staff all but striking work, the hospital authorities had decided to stop admissions and start discharging patients on Tuesday. But the crisis was averted. “We registered 30 admissions on Tuesday. Although it is less compared with other days, normalcy has been restored,” said Barua.

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