Mohammad Khushnood, the kingpin of an interstate gang of international immigration racketeers, who had been cheating potential visa aspirants since 2006, was nabbed by a team of Delhi Police’s special cell in Kolkata on January 14, police said.
“He always used to dress well and stayed in five-star hotels and used luxurious cars to look like an authentic and well-connected travel agent,” said Alok Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell).
Khushnood was wanted in several criminal cases in Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab since he began swindling unsuspecting ‘customers’ aspiring to go abroad. “He is an undergraduate from Allahabad and his father is employed with IFFCO,” said Kumar.
Police said Khushnood’s was a case of retribution gone awry.
“He had given Raja, a Chennai-based travel agent whom he was working with in Mumbai in 2005, Rs 22 lakh to arrange visas for 22 applicants from his native place.”
“But soon after that, Raja vanished. Later, when Khushnood came to Delhi, he formed his own gang and began cheating people to pay off this debt and live a luxurious life,” said Kumar.
The police caught seven of his gang members on July 9, 2009, and 126 passports, seven fake visa stickers and a large number of fake contracts and documents were recovered from their possession. Khushnood remained at large.
But his luck finally ran out on January 14. “We caught him near the Arsalan restaurant at Park Circus and recovered five passports issued in the name of various persons from him,” said a senior police officer.
According to police, Khushnood’s network had expanded dramatically in the four years of his successful run as a racketeer and had established offices in more than five different locations in the national capital.