Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, March 6
On the complaint of Passport Officer, Chandigarh office, regarding the connivance of touts with the Ludhiana passport office employees to mint money from applicants, Police Commissioner (CP) Rakesh Agrawal formed separate teams, which conducted raids travel agents offices at several places in the city.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rupinder Kaur Bhatti, who also led one such team, conducted raids on some touts, also running travel offices nearby passport office, located near bus stand.
The police rounded up several touts and seized their mobile phones and some incriminating documents, which proved that they were in touch with some passport office employees.
“These touts charge huge amount running up to Rs 1 lakh from passport applicants to clear any objections in their files or to get their files passed in minimum possible time. Sometimes passport applicant has shortcomings in his/her file. These shortcomings are removed by touts in connivance with passport office employees after charging huge sum from applicant,” the ACP said.
“We have seized mobile phones of some touts in which record of calls made to passport office employees was found. We are sending all those mobile phones to forensic lab to explore the entire network of touts,” the ACP added.
“A probe will be conducted in a week or two after which final report will be submitted. It is quite possible that employees of the passport office may face legal action,” the ACP said.
About their modus operandi, the police said, “These touts remain present in and around the passport office. Whenever any applicant visits passport office and faces any issue, these touts assure to clear his/her file citing their links with the passport office staff.”
Earlier too, the issue of presence of touts in and around the passport office was raised and the police had conducted raids. This action failed to deter touts.
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