The Maharashtra ATS has arrested a Bangladeshi man in Nagpur, where he was found residing illegally for more than a decade - initially as a Buddhist monk and then as a gym trainer - and also operating a racket to help people from his country obtain Indian passport fraudulently, an official said. The 40-year-old accused, Palash Bipan Baruva, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday, police said.
During the probe, it was found that he had entered India illegally under the guise of being a Buddhist monk and later transitioned into the role of a gym trainer in Nagpur. He had been living in Pivali river area at Teka in north Nagpur, they said.
"The ATS uncovered Baruva's illegal activities when two Bangladeshi nationals, Maitri Baruva and Ankon Baruva, were apprehended at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad while trying to board flights to foreign countries using Indian passports," an official from Kapil Nagar police station said.
Their interrogation revealed that their passports had been fraudulently obtained on the basis of fake identity documents supplied by Baruva, he said. Following this, the Nagpur unit of the ATS launched a covert operation, spanning more than a month, during which Baruva's activities were closely monitored, he added.
He entered India as a Buddhist Monk
"The accused had crossed the Indian border as a Buddhist monk before 2010. He managed to evade law enforcement agencies for around four years by residing in various Buddha Viharas in the city," the official added.
Baruva then transitioned into an ordinary life, taking up the job of a gym trainer. He also formed a romantic relationship and travelled to Thailand, he said. "Investigations revealed that Baruva's complex network was involved in facilitating the issuance of Indian passports to Bangladeshi nationals. He maintained active connections with associates in Bangladesh, aiding numerous illegal border crossings into Nagpur over the past decade," he said.
Following his arrest, a case was registered against Baruva under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 420 (cheating), 463, 467 and 468 (all pertaining to forgery) and investigation is on, the police said.