Accused in both cases admit to connivance of Government staff concerned, writes Marri Ramu
There are many similarities between the two recently busted sensational crimes - the passport racket and the fraud relating to re-registration of stolen vehicles.
In both the cases, the arrested persons admitted to the interrogators that they managed to commit the crime with the connivance of some employees of the Government offices concerned.
In the passport scam, they named one employee.
The role of some RTA office employees came under the scanner in the second case.
Another resemblance in the two crimes is that the accused persons carefully exploited the flaws in the rule position.
More importantly, gullible people are landing in trouble for no fault of theirs.
Since ignorance of law is not excusable, people have to face the consequences. But there are some lessons, the police say, the citizens and the Government wings should learn from the two scams.
The passport racket was operated by three agents who cleverly exploited provisions of the Tatkal scheme that facilitate securing of passport pending verification of applicant’s credentials by the police.
Under the Tatkal scheme, the passport office would issue passports if three of the 12 listed documents relating to identity proof are submitted.
Persons with criminal records applied for passports with forged documents supplied by the agents and fled the country as the passports are issued without police verification.
As the scam came to light, the police began verifying details of all persons who secured passports under Tatkal scheme though they had sent adverse reports.
Ironically, people who secured passports under this scheme and went abroad on urgent work, are facing embarrassment.
The police had sent adverse reports against them since they were not available at their addresses when the Special Branch policemen went there to verify records.
The lesson is anyone who applies for passport under Tatkal scheme must ensure that police completes the verification work before he or she leaves the country. Otherwise, they would be suspected of involvement in the passport racket.
But the passport office should also make sure that in addition to three documents of identity proof, the applicant’s credentials should be authenticated by some responsible person.
If an Eicher van worth Rs. 6 lakh in good condition is offered to Rs. 2 lakh anyone would try to grab the offer. Some offenders used to purchase vehicles stolen from different States and get them re-registered in Hyderabad presenting fake documents with the help of RTA employees. Investigators point out that one should make doubly sure that vehicle documents are genuine before buying a vehicle at cheap price.
The best way is to insist for documents with the seller and directly approach the RTA office to ascertain authenticity of documents instead of mediators.