Mumbai: Lankans with fake passport wanted to settle in UK as refugees
Cops are now hunting for two agents who arranged the fake passports for the arrested Sri Lankans on the Brits identities
One of the fake passports of the Sri Lankans which was made on the Brits' identity
A day after the Sahar police busted and arrested a group of eight people – four British nationals and as many Sri Lankans nationals trying to leave the country on fraudulent passports, they have now found that the Lankans planned to settle in the UK by gaining a refugee status.
mid-day had on Thursday reported about the arrest of eight foreign nationals from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport ('4 British nations, 4 Sri Lankans held for immigration fraud') after the immigration department detained them and found fake Indian passports on four Sri Lankan nationals. The Lankans decided to pursue this fraudulent route to enter the UK, as they were unable to get visas to England from their home country. The arrested British nationals are Queilen Alan, Bower Dominick, Fivehats Captain and Warner Julie, while the Sri Lankans are Aruna Sulhakarn, Kanthasan Kartikeyan, Gajan Chandrabalan and Karga Swami.
Brits knew agents
In the investigation, cops have found that the Brits arrived in the city on March 2 and had been residing in a hotel in Andheri East. They were in contact with the agents. The Lankans reached the city on March 9 and were to travel to London on March 10, for which they bought tickets for two flights – a British Airways Mumbai-London flight and an Air India Mumbai-Ahmedabad-London flight. The police have now launched a manhunt for the agents, identified as Rajan and Yograjan, who fled the airport after the foreign nationals' detention.
A cop from Sahar police station said, "On the morning of March 10, the Brits reached the airport first, got their boarding passes and waited until the Lankans reached with their tickets for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-London flights and fake Indian passports. They then exchanged the tickets with boarding passes and managed to reach the immigration counter, but the officials there raised suspicions on their names because they matched those of foreign nationals even though they had decidedly Indian features and a Tamil accent."
Nailing the group
"Two Sri Lankans walking ahead were stopped for questioning. Aruna, who was walking just a few meters away from them, saw this, turned and started rushing towards the washroom. The officials followed her and found that she had flashed the fake passport with the intention to destroy it. Further, the security staff checked the records and found that the British nationals who were still present at the airport had already taken their boarding passes," the officer added.
"They checked the CCTV footage and did not find the Lankans standing in queue for boarding passes. After this, the Brits were found and detained. The immigration staff questioned them and on Wednesday, handed all eight of them to Sahara police. Inspector Dattatray Thopate has been interrogating the arrested accused to find out how often this modus operandi has been used previously," the police officer said. DCP Zone VIII, Virendra Mishra said, "It is a fake passport scam and we are investigating the role of other suspects involved in it."