CBI seizes Rs 1.59 crore cash in Mumbai passport corruption ring case

The CBI seized Rs 1.59 crore cash and crucial digital evidence during its three-day search operation after busting a corruption racket in Mumbai's Passport Seva Kendras, officials said on Tuesday.
CBI seizes Rs 1.59 crore cash in Mumbai passport corruption ring case
CBI seizes Rs 1.59 crore cash in Mumbai passport corruption ring case

New Delhi | The CBI seized Rs 1.59 crore cash and crucial digital evidence during its three-day search operation after busting a corruption racket in Mumbai's Passport Seva Kendras, officials said on Tuesday.

After registering 12 cases on June 28 against 14 officials of Passport Sewa Kendras (PSKs) of Lower Parel and Malad and 18 touts and middlemen, the CBI began a massive search operation in Mumbai and Nashik, which continued until Monday.

Besides the cash, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stumbled upon five diaries containing alleged details of transactions and crucial information about the bribery ring, they said.

The agency has alleged that the accused officials and middlemen indulged in "collusive corruption," allowing passports to be issued based on incomplete documents or manipulating the particulars of passport applicants.

The alleged activities of the officials and the middlemen were detected during a joint surprise check at the PSKs conducted by the vigilance wing of the External Affairs Ministry and the CBI. The office desks and mobile phones of the suspect officers were analysed.

"The analysis of documents, social media chats and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) 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 spokesperson said after the registration of the FIR.

The agency alleged that the PSK officials, in connivance with touts, were allegedly receiving huge monetary undue advantages directly in their own bank accounts or in the bank accounts of their family members to the tune of several lakhs of rupees, he said.

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