A 19-year-old suspected illegal Bangladeshi immigrant from Mira Road left the Mumbai police stumped after she managed to procure an identity document while being in police custody. A preliminary investigation into it revealed that the girl had used a fake birth certificate allegedly issued by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) to get a permanent account number (PAN) card.
The accused, identified as Sharmin Shaikh, worked as a bar girl on the outskirts of Mumbai and claimed to have been staying in Janta Nagar area in Mira Road for around a year, officials said. Shaikh came on police’s radar following a tip off pertaining to her dubious nationality.
The investigators were startled as the forged paper used to procure the PAN card was made in the outskirts of Mumbai as against remote hamlets in West Bengal, infamous for such crimes. The fraud came to light after she provided the PAN card that was arranged while she was behind the bars. “We were given the PAN card, which she claimed to not have when we had arrested her. We probed the documents submitted to get the PAN card and found the MBMC paper. Upon verification and checking the records of the corporation, we were told that no such document was ever issued to her,” said a police officer probing the case.
Shaikh’s lie was caught and the police are now in the process of identifying the racket that helped her get the identity proof. She has been booked under relevant sections of the Passport Act and the Indian Penal Code.
“We found this for the first time in contrast to forged documents being made from places in Bengal’s ‘24 Paraganas’ district, which are known as breeding grounds for the racketeers who provide papers for illegal immigrants. Owing to our constant crackdown, their blatant operations have come down,” added the police officer.
The immigrants would get school leaving or a gram panchayat certificate from places like Hasnabad, Bongaon, Maslandapur, Bagdah, Gobindapur and Swarupnagar after crossing over the border on foot. They would then relocate to urban centres for jobs and procure Aadhar card or PAN card or a driving license using those documents to pose as Indians.
The extent of proliferation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Mumbai can be understood since around 1,000 such persons have already been arrested in 2016 in around 200 separate cases. Among them, around 150 have been successfully deported to their country of origin and remaining are undergoing trial, officials said.