The simmering issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the city came to the fore after the police busted a modus operandi they used to keep themselves off the police radar.
Bangladeshi migrants kept the police at bay with the photocopy of a show-cause notice that had already been served to one of them.
For example, if the police identified an illegal Bangladeshi migrant and served a legal notice, he would circulate photocopies of the document, with no changes, to his compatriots who in turn evaded police scrutiny by showing the ‘already-served’ show-cause notices to the personnel and claimed to be on police records.
After the end of the accused’s trial, he is deported to Bangladesh, an officer said.
Explaining the flaw, the officer said, “However, after being let off on bail, the accused person would make photocopies of the legal notice and would circulate it among his community.”
Further, long, complicated names on the notices perplexed the police who had a hard time in verifying whether the migrant possessed a bonafide notice.
To plug such loopholes, the Mumbai police have changed the loose format of the legal notice, which now also includes a scanned photograph of the arrested person.
The change in strategy helped in arresting as many as 430 Bangladeshis till May end this year, way more than earlier crackdowns.
Officials said the crackdown this year was decent compared to only 1,037 people arrested in 2015 and a meagre 504 in 2014. The numbers are, however, not encouraging with the police claiming that Mumbai houses at least 5 lakh illegal Bangladeshi migrants who mostly live in slum pockets and on the outskirts of the city.
Even 18 Indian nationals and six notary advocates were arrested for aiding and sheltering these immigrants.
Maharashtra happens to be one of the states infested with illegal Bangladeshi migrants after Assam, Bihar, Bengal and the North East.
Recalling a case, officers said they had deported a Bangladeshi woman three times in five years.