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Passport racket bust in cop hub

Three days after the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh police arrived in the city to investigate how original blank passports, issued from the Calcutta office, are reaching ISI agents, the city police on Monday arrested eight persons from the Lalbazar area on charges of involvement in the racket.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) Zulfiquar Hasan said the eight youths were caught with “incriminating documents near the regional passport office, close to the Lalbazar police headquarters”.

The drive was carried out a day after regional passport officer Omprakash filed a complaint with Hare Street police station that “blank passports and other sensitive documents” have been stolen from his office.

The UP police had arrested a Bangladeshi ISI agent, Mamunur Rehman, and his local contact, Zafar Nayeem, a fortnight ago in Lucknow and recovered blank original passports and other documents from them.

Rehman is from Chittagong, in Bangladesh, and had been living in Lucknow for 12 years on a fake passport. Speaking to Metro on phone from Lucknow, STF special superintendent Rajiv Verma said Rehman had handed over to his men 10 blank original passports issued from Calcutta. “Mamunur admitted to paying a hefty sum to his contacts in Calcutta’s regional office to obtain the passports,” Verma said.

Police said “foreign nationals can incorporate fake Indian names and addresses in the stolen blank passports and travel in the country’’.

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