CBI FIR reveals nexus between Jalandhar passport officers, agents - Hindustan Times
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CBI FIR reveals nexus between Jalandhar passport officers, agents

By, Jalandhar
Feb 28, 2024 12:57 PM IST

CBI FIR also brings to fore shoddy corrupt practices being adopted by top officials to siphon money from gullible applicants

{Graft case}

CBI conducted a raid at the passport office and arrested regional passport officer and two assistant passport officers. (HT File)
CBI conducted a raid at the passport office and arrested regional passport officer and two assistant passport officers. (HT File)

Twelve days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested three top officials of Jalandhar’s regional passport office, the first information report (FIR) pointed out shoddy corrupt practices being adopted by top officials to siphon money from gullible applicants.

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The FIR also unearthed an “unholy” nexus between officials and agents working outside Jalandhar’s passport office near the local bus stand.

On February 16, the CBI conducted a raid at the passport office and arrested regional passport officer Anup Singh along with two assistant passport officers, Hari Om and Sanjay Srivastav.

CBI also raided the officials’ residences and recovered 20 lakh and multiple incriminating documents. The action came on the February 14 complaint of a Hoshiarpur resident, who said the passport officials sought 25,000 in bribe for ssuing passports to his minor grandson and granddaughter.

The complainant alleged that the accused informed him that the bribe amount was accepted on the directions of RPO and another APO.

The CBI recorded a conversation between the accused APO Hari Om and the complainant, wherein the former can be heard demanding the bribe.

According to the FIR, the CBI team reached Jalandhar and contacted the complainant soon after receiving the complaint. Later, the CBI handed over a digital voice recorder and a spy camera to bring his conversation with the accused on record for verification purposes.

“Laced with logistics provided by the CBI, the complainant met the accused Hari Om at the passport office and the whole conversation recorded in the memory cards provided by the investigation agency. The CBI even attached detailed relevant transcripts of the recordings, following which the raiding team got the green signal to initiate raids at the passport office on February 16,” the FIR stated.

In the conversation, which was brought on record in the FIR, the accused could be heard asking for the bribe of 25,000 for issuance of his grandson’s passport. The complainant even tried to bargain, but the accused officer could be heard saying that the amount related to it was to be shared with other two officers, the FIR added.

Besides, Hari Om told the complainant that those who were in haste to get passports of minors usually agreed to pay the amount for issuance of passport in no time.

“The agents operating outside the passport office charge 40,000 for the same work,” the accused told the complainant during his conversation.

A transcript mentioned in the FIR pointed out that the accused asked the complainant to accompany him in the elevator and allegedly received money from him.

It may be mentioned that the officers posted at the regional passport office were under the radar for the past six months as several complaints of alleged negligence and corruption were filed against them with the ministry of external affairs.

Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Singh Seechewal had earlier on on February 8 written to the Union external affairs ministry and submitted multiple complaints of passport officers harassing people for issuance of passports.

In the complaint, Seechewal alleged that the people were forced to get their work done through agents, who were charging hefty amounts from gullible persons to clear objections before issuance of their passports.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Navrajdeep Singh is a senior staff correspondent. He covers agriculture, crime, local bodies, health and education in the Patiala district of Punjab.

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