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  • US visa-stamped passport for sale

    US visa-stamped passport for sale

    TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2004 01:17:47 AM ]

    AHMEDABAD: If you've been to the US a couple of times in the recent past, here is your chance to make some money. Upto Rs 1 lakh, that is.

    All you have to do is hand over your passport to one of a dozen odd agents in Ahmedabad who will then tamper slightly with the document to send a Gujarati to the land of opportunity. Sakina Ahmad, a resident of Bihar, did just that.

    Her passport (B-3312631) was used by one Babuben Patel to hit foreign shores. So did Yunus Ramaiya, a resident of Hyderabad. His passport (A-9689198) took a resident of Ghatlodia, identified as one Neelam Patel's father, to the US. Ramaiya's passport was being readied by a city-based agent, Gunwant Patel, to send another illegal immigrant to the US when he got busted last week.

    Like Neelam's father, those who go abroad on bogus passports send back the passport for reuse on reaching the US. Gunwant would get paid anywhere between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 35 lakh for every such deal. If you allow your passport, which is already stamped a couple of times with a US visa, to be used for such illegal human exports, you stand to make upto Rs 1 lakh.

    Gunwant was arrested on Thursday by the police and 41 genuine passports pasted over with bogus photographs were recovered from the boot of his Toyota Camry.


    The accused, which is now on a five-day police remand, is believed to be just one of the several such operators who source genuine passports from across the country to satiate the unquenchable thirst of Gujarati families to somehow make the US their home.

    Investigations reveal that the main problem with operators like Gunwant is that there are not too many passport holders in Gujarat who would like to part with the document for such a measly sum, because they would like to migrate to the US some day.

    Besides, travelling on a Bihari or Hyderabadi name helps hoodwink visa and immigration officials, who are normally suspicious about Gujarati surnames. Gunwant began this racket of sending wannabe immigrants, most of them from Patel community, abroad on fake documents in 1998. During the past six years, he has sent 60 to 70 such immigrants to the US and amassed a fortune in the process.

    Police believe there are at least a dozen agents like Gunwant in Ahmedabad alone who have spread their network all over the country. "Gunwant represents only one such module in Ahmedabad. Once we are through with our investigations, many more names will tumble out," says additional commissioner of police Ashish Bhatia.

    These agents are armed with hi-tech computer software and printers that replicate the color and texture of pages in passports. They also have gadgets like ultra-violet lamps that help them ensure that the radium marks, which are not noticeable with the naked eye, do not get botched during the tampering.

    Such is their expertise that even after the photograph of the holder was replaced, it passed the scrutiny of immigration officials at international airports in India and the US. Among the 41 passports seized by the police is that of Mohammad Manzoor (B-3311542) of Bihar.

    It now carries the photograph of Govindbhai Patel, a resident of Tapovan Society in Saraspur. "The visa stamps on the passport show that Patel had reached the US and then sent the passport back to Gunwant," says DCP (Zone V) Amit Kumar Viswakarma.

  • #2
    US visa-stamped passport for sale

    TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2004 01:17:47 AM ]

    AHMEDABAD: If you've been to the US a couple of times in the recent past, here is your chance to make some money. Upto Rs 1 lakh, that is.

    All you have to do is hand over your passport to one of a dozen odd agents in Ahmedabad who will then tamper slightly with the document to send a Gujarati to the land of opportunity. Sakina Ahmad, a resident of Bihar, did just that.

    Her passport (B-3312631) was used by one Babuben Patel to hit foreign shores. So did Yunus Ramaiya, a resident of Hyderabad. His passport (A-9689198) took a resident of Ghatlodia, identified as one Neelam Patel's father, to the US. Ramaiya's passport was being readied by a city-based agent, Gunwant Patel, to send another illegal immigrant to the US when he got busted last week.

    Like Neelam's father, those who go abroad on bogus passports send back the passport for reuse on reaching the US. Gunwant would get paid anywhere between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 35 lakh for every such deal. If you allow your passport, which is already stamped a couple of times with a US visa, to be used for such illegal human exports, you stand to make upto Rs 1 lakh.

    Gunwant was arrested on Thursday by the police and 41 genuine passports pasted over with bogus photographs were recovered from the boot of his Toyota Camry.


    The accused, which is now on a five-day police remand, is believed to be just one of the several such operators who source genuine passports from across the country to satiate the unquenchable thirst of Gujarati families to somehow make the US their home.

    Investigations reveal that the main problem with operators like Gunwant is that there are not too many passport holders in Gujarat who would like to part with the document for such a measly sum, because they would like to migrate to the US some day.

    Besides, travelling on a Bihari or Hyderabadi name helps hoodwink visa and immigration officials, who are normally suspicious about Gujarati surnames. Gunwant began this racket of sending wannabe immigrants, most of them from Patel community, abroad on fake documents in 1998. During the past six years, he has sent 60 to 70 such immigrants to the US and amassed a fortune in the process.

    Police believe there are at least a dozen agents like Gunwant in Ahmedabad alone who have spread their network all over the country. "Gunwant represents only one such module in Ahmedabad. Once we are through with our investigations, many more names will tumble out," says additional commissioner of police Ashish Bhatia.

    These agents are armed with hi-tech computer software and printers that replicate the color and texture of pages in passports. They also have gadgets like ultra-violet lamps that help them ensure that the radium marks, which are not noticeable with the naked eye, do not get botched during the tampering.

    Such is their expertise that even after the photograph of the holder was replaced, it passed the scrutiny of immigration officials at international airports in India and the US. Among the 41 passports seized by the police is that of Mohammad Manzoor (B-3311542) of Bihar.

    It now carries the photograph of Govindbhai Patel, a resident of Tapovan Society in Saraspur. "The visa stamps on the passport show that Patel had reached the US and then sent the passport back to Gunwant," says DCP (Zone V) Amit Kumar Viswakarma.

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