The security control wing of the city police busted an international racket in forged passports with the arrest of Kanak Chakraborty, the kingpin, on Saturday night. Acting on a tip-off that Chakraborty would cross the Indo-Bangladeshi border, a special investigating team intercepted him as he was getting into a private car at the Haridaspur check-post, in North 24-Parganas.
Officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who interrogated Chakraborty on Sunday, said they suspect he had helped “terrorists, anti-national elements and perpetrators of crime” travel to the US, the UK, Canada, West Asia, Bangladesh and other countries with forged passports.
“We have evidence to suggest that he had helped sympathisers of militant organisations obtain visas with fake passports,” a senior CBI officer said. Deputy commissioner of police (security control) P.K. Chatterjee said Chakraborty ran a racket in forged passports in Bangladesh and Nepal. He had taken shelter in Bangladesh after the city police came to know of his activities and raided his Maniktala apartment in September last year, Chatterjee added.
“We had seized 115 passports, several visas and other incriminating documents from his Maniktala flat last year,’’ deputy commissioner Chatterjee said. Though his car was impounded, Chakraborty managed to evade the dragnet. Over the past few months, police raided several areas of Calcutta, North and South 24-Parganas and rounded up a dozen of his accomplices.
During interrogation, Chakraborty’s accomplices gave an account of his activities in the city, the suburbs and Bangladesh. “They divulged details of the kingpin’s links with the Dhaka underworld and his whereabouts in Bangladesh and Nepal,” an officer of the security control wing said.
Elaborating on the modus operandi of the racket, security control officers said the gang would apply for passports under different names and genuine addresses in the city and the suburbs. With the help of their contacts in the regional passport office in Calcutta, Chakraborty managed to obtain the passports.
“Yet another method would be to buy genuine passports from gullible people in the city and the suburbs. Through their sources, the gang members would get the names of people who had obtained passports but never travelled abroad, nor had the financial means,’’ Chatterjee said.
The next step, according to Chatterjee, would be to replace the original photo on the passport with that of the person wanting to travel abroad. “The gang had contacts with the staff in different consulates,’’ a senior officer explained.