A gang of fake passport and visa racketeers was busted by a central crime branch (CCB) team on Sunday night. The forgers had made visas for nearly 150 countries and illegally sent over 100 people to the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other European countries.
Following a tip-off to the commissioner of police in the first week of June, a special team lead by deputy commissioner (CCB) S. Jeyakumar began investigating the case.
A list of people with a history of forging passports and visas was made and scrutinised. “We stumbled upon Sri Lankan national Krishnamurthy (64), a habitual offender, who had been arrested for making fake passports in 2003 and 2005. He had jumped bail and was absconding for four years. A probe revealed that he was running a thriving fake passport and visa racket. We managed to arrest Rajan (42) of Alapakkam, his broker,” said an officer.
Rajan, also a Sri Lankan, led investigators to Abubucker Siddique (29), another broker from Chennai. The duo helped police raid the workstation of Krishnamurthy on Abdul Karim Street, Chepauk and seize seals of visas of 150 countries, 110 passports including fake and invalid Indian ones (90 pieces) and Sri Lankan passports, the officer said.
The elderly forger chose a unique modus operandi of illegally procuring invalid Indian passports for upto Rs. 3,000 and printed fake visas on them.
“Krishnamurthy, through his brokers, made his clients apply for valid visas at consulates or embassies here using fake passports. The clients often managed to obtain valid visas after the authorities saw the previous visas, including the Schengen visa, which were bogus,” said another investigating officer.
Krishnamurthy and his gang had been operating for over four years, and are suspected to have had the assistance of immigration authorities here, police added.
The elderly man, his accomplices Jeyarajasekaran (29), a tech-savvy offender from Maduravoyal, Devasahayam (48) of Thiruvanmiyur, Sivarangan (55) of Alapakkam, Rajan and Siddique were arrested on Sunday night. They were remanded to custody and sent to Puzhal prison on Monday.