The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ex-army man in forgery net
- Hint of ‘anti-national’ motive at work

Darjeeling, July 5: Access to army installations comes for as little as Rs 1,000.

Darjeeling police made this discovery with the arrest of Naik Subedar (retd) Dhan Kumar Lama from Ghoom Khasmal bustee, 10 km from here, today.

Lama sold forged discharge certificates and identity cards to buyers who wanted the status of ex-servicemen. While identity cards came for Rs 1,000, security course certificate cost Rs 500. Lama is also known to have forged discharge books — given to every soldier at the time of retirement — for Rs 5,000.

Confirming the arrest, Darjeeling superintendent of police Rajesh Subarno said: “We have seized discharge certificates, forged official seals and blank forms from him.”

Though the police are investigating the case, it was learnt that the army had been monitoring Lama’s activities for quite some time. “The raids were conducted independently, but we exchanged information with the army intelligence,” said Subarno.

Sources in the army said the seal used by Lama was that of the Gorkha Recruiting Depot in Lucknow. They said the incident is being taken seriously as ex-servicemen are allowed to enter army installations (mainly canteens) on the basis of their identity cards. “The possibility of anti-national people sneaking into vital army installations with such identity cards cannot be ruled out,” said an army official.

The police said the arrest is the fallout of their investigation into an earlier case in which two residents from Nepal had posed as Indian citizens for recruitment in the Gorkha Rifles here a few months ago. However, the police also said the documents that had been seized from the two Nepalese were not provided by Lama.

Initially a clerk with 3/11 Gorkha Rifles, Lama was later transferred to the Naga Regiment. He retired in 1991-92 and was posted as security supervisor at the Darjeeling Telephone Exchange, a high security zone.

It was also learnt that Lama “recruited” people for jobs in Malaysia. “He even arranged for their trips to the Southeast Asian country for Rs 85,000. The recruitment might have been for work in security agencies or other jobs,” said a police official. But the police are not sure if Lama used forged documents for this business too.

The police have registered a case of cheating, forgery and possession of government seals against Lama. He will be produced in the Darjeeling district court tomorrow.

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