The special investigation cell (SIC) of the Punjab Police has arrested Hardev Singh Dhaliwal of Kishangarh Pakharwdh village in the district from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), New Delhi, in the connection with the Moga passport scam that surfaced in 2008. Dhaliwal had landed at New Delhi early Wednesday morning from USA, where he stayed for 18 years.
In the past four years, 91 people had been detained by the SIC from New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Amritsar international airports in connection with the passport scam. Many other suspects are also under the scanner of the SIC.
Surjit Singh Grewal, senior superintendent of police, said Hardev Singh Dhaliwal had gone to USA in 1994 via Moscow illegally through a ship. "He managed to prepare another passport from the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Chandigarh, in 2002 allegedly by submitting fake documents with the help of travel agent Manjit Singh of Gill village, the owner of Golden Travel Agency, Baghapurana."
When immigration officers at the airport informed the Moga police about Dhaliwal, a special police team led by assistant investigation officer Tejinder Singh nabbed him from the Delhi airport, the SSP said.
It may be mentioned three head constables who were posted in the security branch of the senior superintendent of police office in Moga from 1995 to 2008, Jaswinder Singh, Gurdial Singh and Ranjit Singh, and a clerk Didar Singh of the RPO, Chandigarh, were the main accused involved in the passport scam and their names were mentioned in the main FIR. "The three head constables were dismissed from service in the wake of the passport scam," said the SSP.
During the investigation into the scam, the SIC had found that 702 passports were prepared on the address one house at Dunneke village in Moga district. The SIC had registered criminal cases against more than 700 people who escaped to United Kingdom, Canada, Philippines, Spain, Cyprus, France, Germany, USA and some other western countries.
They had prepared passports by allegedly colluding with cops, two postmen, several travel agencies of Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Moga, Dharamkot, Baghapurana and some official of the RPO, Chandigarh, by giving fake birth certificates, ration cards and other bogus documents at several addresses, especially at Duneke village, Mudki Road, Baghapurana; Guru ram Dass Nagar, Moga; and other areas of Moga.
"The police had already registered a case against Hardev Singh Dhaliwal. We are investigating to get more evidence that how he prepared passport through bogus documents even as he already had a passport," the SSP added.
Hardev Singh Dhaliwal was produced in a local court, which sent him in police custody for one day.