Process to issue Aadhaar needs changes: Bengaluru Police after gang busted
The police said they have seized five seals of health officers at five BBMP hospitals, 26 fake letter-heads, 16 mobile phones, three CPUs, two laptops, two printers, 31 Aadhaar cards, 13 PAN cards, 28 voter IDs, four e-Shram cards, five driving licences, three Ayushman Bharat health cards, two ATM cards, three voter ID application form-6, 92 certificates for Aadhaar enrolment/update form with seals of BBMP medical officers from the accused.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), central range, said on Saturday that the police department will ask the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to make changes to the address verification process for issuing Aadhaar cards after busting a gang using fake stamps to create gazetted officer’s letter in Bengaluru.
IGP Chandra Shekar said that the nine-member gang, including a software engineer and a pharmacist, allegedly helped illegal migrants, especially from Bangladesh, get Aadhaar cards and other citizenship-related documents by using fake stamps. The arrests were made over a period of 20 days from areas on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the IGP said.
According to the IGP, in April, ₹18 lakh was looted from an ATM at Chikkagollarahatti village under Madanayakanahalli police station limits in the city.
In this connection, police arrested Sheikh Ismail Kitab Ali from Bangladesh. During interrogation, Kitab Ali pointed at one Syed Akoon alias Shahid Ahmed, who had come to India illegally from the Tripura border and started a scrap and plastic waste company in the city, police said.
Based on his inputs, police arrested Akoon’s son Suman Islam from Hottappanapalya under the Madanayakanahalli police station limits. Upon interrogation, he revealed that they used to get the Aadhaar card using the city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) letter-head, seal and signature of the BBMP health officers.
“They used to submit the documents to the Bengaluru One Centre and obtain Aadhaar card. Their interrogation led to the arrest of Mohammed Abdul Aleem, who hails from Kulla in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. He used to help get illegal migrants to get Aadhaar cards using BBMP letterhead and seal,” said IGP Chandra Shekar.
For this service, Akoon used to charge them between ₹500 and ₹1,000, police said.
Police soon arrested Suhail Ahmed, Mohammed Hidayat, Ayesha, Mohammed Amin Sait, Rakesh, Syed Mansoor and Ishtiyaq Pasha alias Medical Pasha who hails from Devara Jeevanahalli police station limits, in connection with the case.
The police said Rakesh is a software engineer who became jobless post-Covid. To make a living, he used to create fake letters of gazetted rank officers.
Ishtiyaq was working as a temporary employee in a BBMP hospital, police said, adding that he has confessed to creating many fake Covid negative reports, fake vaccination reports and fake seals of the gazetted rank officers for Aadhaar cards.
The police said they have seized five seals of health officers at five BBMP hospitals, 26 fake letter-heads, 16 mobile phones, three CPUs, two laptops, two printers, 31 Aadhaar cards, 13 PAN cards, 28 voter IDs, four e-Shram cards, five driving licences, three Ayushman Bharat health cards, two ATM cards, three voter ID application form-6, 92 certificates for Aadhaar enrolment/update form with seals of BBMP medical officers from the accused. Hunt is on to trace the absconding persons, the police said.
The police also said the kingpinAkoon has three bank accounts. From these accounts, the money was transferred to various other accounts in Kolkata, Chennai, and Punjab.
Further, the Indian currency was converted into Bangladeshi currency with the help of those doing business on the India-Bangladesh border and then sent to Bangladesh.
“It has come to light that in one year, Akoon has converted ₹four crores in Bangladeshi currency and transferred it to his native country. There is a need to freeze at least 13 bank accounts across India and investigate them,” police said in a statement.
The officer said that the case identified a big loophole in the UIDAI process of issuing Aadhaar cards. “We have realised that there is no process for verifying the letters issued by the gazetted officers. Earlier in the Tatkal passport system, whenever a gazetted officer issued a letter, it was verified by calls, fax or email. Such a system should be introduced in the Aadhaar also. We will be writing to them with his requirement,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)