Nine persons have been arrested, including an Afghan couple bound for Italy along with their three children but were deported midway from Doha, after the family was found travelling on passports procured on "fake" documents.
Those arrested included a travel agent, his accomplices, a manager of Turkmenistan Airlines and a police head constable. The family was living in India with refugee status.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Amritsar police commissioner RP Mittal said: "A nexus has been exposed. The Afghan family of husband, wife and their three kids, living in New Delhi for two decades as refugees, managed to get Indian passports on the basis of fake documents a year back and were flying to Milan in Italy."
"It was learnt that Afghan Pritam Singh and his wife Ajit Kaur contacted a Delhi-based travel agent Manwinder Singh alias Rozy and paid Rs 14 lakh for going abroad," Mittal said.
The police commissioner said Rozy contacted his associate Vishal Saini in Italy, who got him in touch with one Tejinder in Jalandhar. Then, they contacted one head constable of Jalandhar police Kulbir Singh, who helped them in getting passports on fake addresses, Mittal said.
With the passports in hand, Rozy contacted one Kuldeep Sharma of Jalandhar for the visa of Italy, Mittal said. Kuldeep then got five tickets arranged with the help of a manager with Turkmenistan Airliners in Amritsar, Dinesh Kurl. The family boarded Qatar Airways flight to Milan via Doha on June 18 from the Amritsar airport, police said.
But since the nexus was exposed, an alert was sounded and the Afghan nationals were deported from Doha to Amritsar and arrested on landing. A case under Sections 420, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC, besides 3/4/12 of Passports Act has been registered against Pritam Singh and his wife.
However, since the three kids are very young, they will be handed over to their relatives, police said. Police claimed to have seized Rs 2 lakh from the house of the airline manager, while efforts were on to get to Italy-based Vishal Saini also.