A 30-year-old man from Chunabhatti was arrested by Dahisar Police for allegedly making bogus e-passes for inter-district and inter-state travel.
The accused, Vaibhav Dabhekar, accepted payments via an e-wallet service and had at least one accomplice who made fake e-passes with the help of photoshop. He has been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for forgery and cheating.
An officer said that Chunabhatti Police had received information that a man had posted an advertisement on social media offering e-passes for inter-district and inter-state travel as made mandatory by the Maharashtra Police last month. Acting on this tip-off, they called 30-year-old Vaibhav Dabhekar for inquiries and found a few copies of bogus e-passes on his mobile phone. Upon further probe, Dabhekar confessed to providing a fake e-pass to a person living in Dahisar Police's jurisdiction.
Accordingly, the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 12) was quizzed about an e-pass on May 3, allowing travel of 15 people from Borivali to Akkalkot to Solapur, which upon checking they realised it was rejected due to the absence of identity proofs on April 25.
Nitin Tadakhe, police inspector attached to Kasturba Marg police station said, "We rechecked the rejected e-pass and found that the number given on the e-pass application was that of Dabhekar. Subsequently, Dabhekar was brought in for questioning on May 4, wherein he confessed that he had tied up with one Babu Mane from Solapur, who made the bogus e-passes and sent it to him on WhatsApp for a cut."
Dabhekar and Mane would apply for the e-pass for travelling, but when it was rejected, they would forge it and forward it to the person asking for it, said PI Tadakhe. "As the checking and inspection at various checkpoints leads to congestion, policemen often do not scan the QR Code on the epass to check for its authenticity and allow the vehicles which has an identical e-pass, which was highly exploited by the accused in this case," PI Tadakhe added.
The accused would accept the payment through GooglePay, charging the person anywhere between ₹300 and ₹1,000 per e-pass, depending on the urgency. While Dabhekar was arrested and remanded in police custody for further probe, a search is underway for his accomplice Babu Mane in Solapur and other districts.