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Indian caught in South African fake identity document scam

Mohamed Khan suspected of being the kingpin could be jailed for years unless he is deported to India.

india Updated: Oct 28, 2005 13:58 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

An Indian national cleared on suspicion of involvement with terrorists last year has been jailed for his alleged involvement in a huge fake identity document scam.

Mohamed Khan, 34, suspected of being the kingpin behind the scam in South Africa, could be jailed for years unless he is deported to India.

Khan was caught in an elaborate police sting earlier this week, complete with a car wired with microphones and cameras, when he tried to bribe an undercover police agent to avoid being arrested for allegedly supplying illegal immigrants, mainly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with South African identity documents, in collusion with government officials.

Ironically, Khan first came under police observation for his suspected involvement with terrorists, when he entered the country from India last year. But a high-level investigation failed to establish his links.

Refused bail at his initial court appearance, Khan will now spend the Eid festival next week in custody until his trial is resumed on Nov 8.

Friends said Khan was planning to bring his parents and in-laws from India to South Africa to celebrate Eid with him and his wife Afreen. Papers to arrange South African documents for them were allegedly also found at his residence.

Police remained tight-lipped about the case, but sources close to the family said a large number of South African identity documents were seized from Khan's residence after his arrest.

Reports said Khan and his Indian wife by Islamic rites had concluded marriages of convenience to South Africans, in order to secure local citizenship.

One of them, South African Indian Wadha Shaikh, said she had never met or heard of Khan until the police began questioning her Wednesday about her marriage to him under South African law.

Shaikh said her identity document had been stolen last year and was probably used illegally without her knowledge.

Afreen's supposed legal South African husband, whose identity has not been revealed, is reportedly missing.

Curiously, the Khans' two children, a 12 year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, also possessed South African birth certificates, although they first arrived in the country only last year.

First Published: Oct 28, 2005 13:58 IST