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Station grab seals visa racket bust

From a one-storey house in Madhyamgram, North 24-Parganas, to a sleeper-class coach of the Howrah-bound Geetanjali Express, sleuths on Sunday travelled the length of the city to bust a racket deporting Bangladeshis to several Gulf countries, via Calcutta and Mumbai.

By the end of the day-long operation, the city police had netted nine suspects — six Bangladeshi nationals and three local agents — involved in deporting people who slip into Calcutta through the Haridaspur border in Bongaon, are then taken to Mumbai before being sent to the Gulf.

A search of the guest-house on Zakaria Street, where the Bangladeshis had been based, revealed “suspicious material”, including eight fake passports, 81 audio cassettes in various languages, and a number of letters, said Timir Bhattacharya, officer-in-charge, Jorasanko police station.

The first lead was picked up by the Jorasanko thana late on Saturday. “We received a tip-off that Bangladeshi immigrants from Chittagong and other districts had taken refuge in a Zakaria Street guest-house. We stormed the place and picked up six Bangladeshi nationals,” said Bhattacharya.

The passports, ‘issued’ by the Bangladesh government, proved to be fake. “The books are genuine, but the agents had replaced the photographs. The immigration stamps were also false,” said an officer.

Interrogation of the six-member gang led the cops to Ahmed Chowdhury, alias Khokon, at a guest-house on Rabindra Sarani. Ahmed was picked up and brought to the police station. “He admitted to being the Indian ‘contact’ of the racket and named Swadesh Chakraborty as his Bangladeshi counterpart,” said OC Bhattacharya.

Chakraborty, it was learnt, had put up with relatives in Madhyamgram. “We took two of the Bangladeshis to identify the house and rounded up Chakraborty without a hitch. We then interrogated all eight, and after an hour, they disclosed the name of their Mumbai agent,” said an officer of the police station.

Dalilur Rahman, the man from Mumbai, was arriving by the Geetanjali on Sunday afternoon to meet the six Bangladeshis. “We took Ahmed and Chakraborty to Howrah station to identify Rahman,” revealed OC Bhattacharya. Plainclothesmen formed a ring around the two agents, who were directed to greet Rahman “normally”. As soon as a man in his late-thirties stepped off the train and came to meet the duo, the sleuths moved in.

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