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Fugitive forger fails to avoid sleuth snare

It took more than a year for Calcutta Police detectives to net Humayun Kabir, mastermind of a forged marksheet racket. Three of his associates were picked up earlier. His right-hand man Sujoy Saha was arrested a few days ago.

The marksheet racket had come into focus in August last year. Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police (detective department), said Kabir was finally arrested from Tiljala on Friday. “We had arrested the other members of the gang earlier, but Kabir managed to give us the slip till we traced him and arrested him on Friday,” Mitra said.

According to police sources, Kabir was on the move ever since his associates were arrested. He had cut off contact with his family and moved from one district to another, taking shelter in different hideouts.

“He would never stay at one place for more than a week. Our men would locate him and by the time our team of officials would get to his hideout, he would have fled. For the past month or so, we had information from our sources that he was holed up on the eastern fringes of the city,” said a senior Lalbazar official.

On Friday morning, police received a tip-off from a local resident, who knew Kabir. “Our source told us where he was hiding and we stormed the house before he could escape,” he added.

According to deputy commissioner Mitra, the marksheet racket came to light in August 2002, on a complaint from Gopa Basu, deputy secretary (examination), of the Board of Secondary Education.

“The principal of Parnasree Sati Prasanna Vidyapith, in Behala, had alleged in a letter to the board that six students of the school had acquired forged marksheets and were trying to gain admission in another institute after failing in their Madhyamik examinations,” Mitra revealed. “Following the allegations, we took up the matter and found that the principal’s claims were true. We asked her to lodge a complaint with our department.”

Kabir was earlier arrested in 1992, 1997 and 1998 on similar charges, but was released on bail, the deputy commissioner said. “His gang was not only involved in forging examination marksheets but several other documents. One member would get hold of an original document and use colour photocopy machines to print copies of it. Then, the name of the student and the required marks would be filled in the respective columns.”

Kabir, police suspect, knew certain people who directly interacted with the schools. “He used them to get in touch with students who could afford to pay him for his services,” a Lalbazar official added.

Kabir would get a confirmation from his network whether the students could afford to pay a hefty sum for the fake certificates.

“We are also trying to find out if there are others involved in this racket. There is a possibility that an official of the board of secondary education or employees of a few schools helped students identify and contact these criminals,” the Lalbazar official added.

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