Passport office comes across fake verification certificates of tatkal applicants
After stumbling upon fake verification certificates that is mandatory for applicants seeking fresh passports under tatkal, the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Bangalore, has decided to discontinue the practice of issuing online tatkal appointments.
Passport applicants seeking issue of fresh passports under tatkal will now have to book online appointments under the normal category, arrive at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) at the appointed time, with all necessary documents, including the verification certificate, and submit the same for verification. Only after verifying the genuineness of the verification certificate will a tatkal token be issued to the applicants, according to sources in the RPO, Bangalore.
Verification certificates are issued by officials of the Central Civil Services like the IAS, the IPS and the IFS, besides tahsildars of the areas, where the tatkal passport applicants are residing, to certify their address proof.
Though there was suspicion of a racket behind issue of verification certificates (VCs) for a long time, the doubts were reinforced after the officials at the RPO came across a total of 27 such VCs issued by the same official.
“It happened about two days ago. The matter has been handed over to the police,” a senior official at the RPO told The Hindu. The officials suspect agents to be behind the racket involving issue of fake VCs. The agents are believed to collect a hefty amount from desperate tatkal applicants for arranging VCs.
Meanwhile, hundreds of applicants seeking tatkal processing of their passport applications will now have to book appointments under normal category. However, the registration of their Application Reference Number (ARN) will be under tatkal category, a statement from the RPO, Bangalore said.
After the applicants turn up at the PSK on the appointment date, officials will ascertain the genuineness of the VC. “Normally, the verification comes on the same day,” the official said, seeking to rule out the possibility of a delay under tatkal scheme.
Applicants, who are in need of passports for educational, medical, visa interview or job purposes, and are unable to secure online appointments at PSKs, can visit the RPO, Bangalore, situated on 80 ft Road, Koramangala, with required documents, and print out of online ARN receipt for a walk-in appointment.