Mumbai: CBI Seizes ₹1.59 Crore Cash, Diaries, And Digital Evidence From Passport Agent Amid Corruption & Bribery Allegations

Mumbai: CBI Seizes ₹1.59 Crore Cash, Diaries, And Digital Evidence From Passport Agent Amid Corruption & Bribery Allegations

The agent is suspected of colluding with officials to facilitate issuance of passports in exchange for monetary benefits. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has conducted further searches on 30th June, and 1st July, at the office and residence of one more passport agent/ tout based in Mumbai.

Somendra SharmaUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 03:32 AM IST
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Mumbai: CBI Seizes ₹1.59 Crore Cash, Diaries, And Digital Evidence From Passport Agent Amid Corruption & Bribery Allegations | Representative Image

Mumbai: The CBI recently seized Rs1.59 crore in cash from the premises of a passport agent / tout as part of a bribery investigation involving several passport assistants. During the searches on June 30 and July 1, officials also seized incriminating material in form of five diaries and digital evidence, the agency said on Tuesday.

The agent is suspected of colluding with officials to facilitate issuance of passports in exchange for monetary benefits. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has conducted further searches on 30th June, and 1st July, at the office and residence of one more passport agent/ tout based in Mumbai.

The CBI had registered a dozen cases on June 28 against 14 officials, including passport assistants / senior passport assistants, posted at Passport Sews Kendras (PSKs) of Lower Parel and Malad, and 18 passport facilitation agents / touts on allegations that the officials posted at Lower Parel and Malad were colluding with agents / touts and indulging in corrupt practices.

The officials were allegedly in regular contact with passport facilitation agents and conspiring with them to obtain undue advantage in lieu of issuance of passport based on inadequate / incomplete documents or by manipulating the personal particulars of passport applicants, officials said.

These cases arose out of joint surprise checks conducted by the CBI on June 26 at Lower Parel and Malad along with vigilance officers of the Passport Seva Programme (PSP) Division, Ministry of External Affairs, and the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai. During the check, the office desks and mobile phones of the suspect officers were analysed jointly by the CBI team and vigilance officers.

“The analysis of documents, social media chats and Unified Payments Interface ID activities of suspect public servants had revealed various suspicious transactions by some officials of PSKs indicating demand and acceptance of undue advantage through the passport facilitation agents for issuance of passports as well as to get passports issued based on inadequate / fake / forged documents,” a CBI official said.

The suspect officers, in connivance with passport facilitation agents / touts, were allegedly receiving huge monetary advantages directly in their bank accounts or in the accounts of their family members from the passport facilitation agents / touts, the officials claimed.

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