NEW DELHI

4 held for issuing forged I-cards

NEW DELHI DEC. 25. In what is being considered a major catch, four persons have been arrested by the Economic Offence Wing of the Crime Branch on charges of having issued forged Election Commission's photo-identity cards to people without verifying their identities.

The incident came to light when the EOW was tipped off about a photo-identity card issuing centre which had been distributing cards against bribes without any verification. The centre was being run from Dayalpur Senior Secondary School at Khazuri Khas in North-West Delhi.

Accordingly, the EOW sent a decoy customer to the centre who asked for a photo-identity card on Saturday. It is learnt that the accused demanded Rs. 500 for the same and took his photograph. Later, they handed him over the card having the seal of area Sub-Divisional Magistrate on its back, following which the police team raided the centre and nabbed the accused. However, the mastermind behind the racket, who was reportedly posted there for I-Card distribution, could not be caught. Initial investigations revealed that the accused, who had easy access to materials supplied by the government to issue photo-identity cards, started supplying such cards to people without checking their credentials and antecedents. They disclosed that they also had the area SDM's seal which they used in those cards.

In the process, the accused also supplied cards to hundreds of jhuggi dwellers against payment of Rs. 400 to 500. Such people had no proof of their stay in the Capital.

The revelation of such a racket has raised several questions on the credentials of people who have been issued photo-identity cards. The police suspect that among those having been illegally issued the cards were Bangladeshi nationals. In fact, the investigating team is trying to establish the identity of those whose names have been found stored in a computer which the accused used to type the names on cards.

The police are also trying to nab the mastermind as he could help them retrieve and understand the computer data. Senior police officers said such a case exposed serious lapses in the system which might have severe repercussions for national security. ``Considering the current situation when terrorists are frequently targeting Delhi, such lapses would aggravate the problem. We already have a huge population of illegal Bangladeshi migrants here. Recent developments suggesting that terrorists have created bases in Bangladesh and this is a disturbing trend in this regard,'' said a senior police officer.