Trafficking racket suspected at Delhi airport, passenger with fake passport held
They would clear immigration as a domestic passenger. But before boarding, a Delhi airport employee would give them a fake passport and a boarding card with immigration stamp on it for a foreign destination of their choice.
Delhi Police said they last week busted a suspected, well organised human trafficking racket operating out of the Delhi airport involving a ground-handling firm, immigration officials and agents.
The matter came to light on November 28, when a passenger, Parrinder Chandhar, did not board an Air India flight AI 315 to Mumbai despite having the boarding pass. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) noticed the passenger waiting at Gate 15 from where an Air Canada flight to Toronto was scheduled to depart.
“The 22-year-old man from Jalandhar was detained and a passport on the name of Gurpreet Singh along with a boarding card was recovered. At Terminal 3, some domestic Air India flights operate from the international area, and these passengers took benefit of it and cleared the immigration as domestic passengers. After the security check, the passenger received an international boarding pass and a fake passport. We handed him over to the immigration with all the documents,” said a CISF officer, requesting anonymity.
The immigration then handed over the passenger to the Delhi Police.
“We arrested the passenger and the involvement of some other airport staff cannot be ruled out. We are gathering evidence before making any arrests,” DCP (airport) Sanjay Bhatia said.
During the course of investigation, CCTV footage was scanned and a staff member of Celebi, a ground-handling company at the Delhi airport, was found printing the fake boarding card. Apart from baggage handling, Celebi also operates check-in counters for many international flights.
“The Celebi staffer admitted of giving the boarding card to an agent. He revealed the name of another Celebi staff and two immigration officials, who are part of this racket. Beside this, we have identified two agents who are the masterminds of this group and have sent passengers abroad on fake identities earlier as well. We need to establish how they managed to get the immigration stamps,” said a Delhi Police officer.
An FIR has been registered at the airport police station and police are gathering connecting evidence to find the scale of the suspected racket.
The Celebi staffers were allegedly promised ₹75,000 for printing the boarding pass.
A senior immigration official, when contacted, refused to divulge any details on the matter. Sources, however, said the two immigration staffers in question have been taken off active duty.
An email query sent to Celebi remained unanswered till the filing of this report.