Chinese club probe in Greater Noida: Role of local police personnel under scanner
Three days after the Gautam Budh Nagar police busted an illegally run luxury club in a remote village in Greater Noida, the local police is under scanner for keeping mum about such as enterprise being run from their jurisdiction.
The deputy commissioner of police (Greater Noida zone) has initiated a departmental inquiry against the Ecotech-1 police station to ascertain their involvement, if any, in the club, which was being run in Gharbara village by a Chinese national who was living in India without a valid visa since 2020.
“The role of local police is being probed and a departmental inquiry has been initiated against the beat constable concerned, police post (chowki) in-charge as well as the station house officer of Ecotech-1 police station. Their role in the operation of the club will be investigated by senior officer,” said DCP Meenakshi Katyayan.
There is a suspicion of collusion between local police officers and operators of the club, the officer said.
Police believe the bar was acting as a safe house for Chinese nationals living illegally in the National Capital Region (NCR).
They said apart from the forged documents recovered from Xue, he also got an Indian passport made from Kolkata in the name of ”Sherpa Kelay”. Police have recovered from Xue portable printing machines used to forge documents, blank smart cards used for creating fake IDs and other documents, as well as an Aadhaar card and a voter ID.
DCP Katyayan said, “I have spoken to the Darjeeling SSP and have asked for their help in investigating how an Indian passport was issued to a Chinese national. It has also been revealed that he had posed as a Sherpa (a Tibetan ethnic group) to get the passport. Central agencies have also been roped in,” she said.
The officer further added that the investigative agencies have not made any headway in tracing Xue’s Indian accomplices.
On Monday, Gautam Budh Nagar police arrested the Chinese national Xue Fei (36) aka Kelay, a resident of Xinji county in Hebei province in China, and Petekhrinuo (22), a native of Kohima, Nagaland, from a Gurugram hotel after receiving a tip-off about them from the border security force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which had nabbed two Chinese nationals from the Indo-Nepal border in Bihar on Saturday.
Police said Xue was living in India since 2019, and though his visa expired in 2020, he continued to live in Greater Noida and operate the luxury club, which according to the police, was frequented exclusively by Chinese nationals and people from the north-east.
Police said the three-storey club building is owned by a resident of Gharbara village and was rented out in November 2020 for a period of five years to four people -- Xue and three Indians.
Three months ago, the excise department and local police had conducted a raid at the club. “But we did not find any alcohol there. A temporary liquor licence was recently procured, for June 6 to 12, possibly for some event. Such temporary licences are applied for and granted online; and any manager or staff can apply for it,” said district excise officer Rakesh Bahadur Singh.
The GB Nagar police on Thursday got a three-day remand of Xue and his Indian partner for questioning. “The duo are being interrogated by police as well as officials from intelligence agencies,” said Katyayan.
Late Thursday, the police managed to find the digital video recorder for the CCTV cameras installed at the club. “We are hoping to get more clarity on the activities of the club from the footage. That will give us a headway in the investigation,” said Katyayan.
Sources said the three-storey club, ”Tianshang Renjian (heaven on earth)”, was also acting as a guest house and had over 50 rooms, a restaurant, a game zone and a large kitchen. However, even three days after the raid was conducted, the police are yet to get access to all the rooms of the club.
“The investigators have got the keys to some rooms but most rooms are still locked electronically. Technical experts are working to open them,” said an officer associated with the probe, asking not to be named.
On Thursday, police recovered an entry register, three currency counting machines and two laptops from the club. “The register had over 250 entries of patrons for the month of May. Most of the names are of Chinese nationals and of Indians north-eastern origin. The presence of three currency counting machines is a matter of concern as they hint at large cash transactions. The data from the laptops is being retrieved,” said the officer, quoted above.
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