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Lankans held with fake visas

Alleged connivance between the Immigration authorities at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad and some agents resulted in five Sri Lankan nationals, travelling on fake passports and visas, being cleared at the Immigration counter on Tuesday.

Surprisingly, they were also issued with boarding passes. Four Sri Lankans and one native of Tamil Nadu were later caught by the staff of Emirates Airlines and off-loaded from the flight.

Two other members of the same group were subsequently caught at the immigration counter. According to sources, all the seven members, which includes six Sri Lankan nationals and one native of Tamil Nadu, including a woman and their 'carrier' went to the airport around midnight.

With fake passports and bogus visas, they intended to board the Emirates flight to France which departs at 4.30 a.m.

While five of them - Sylvester Samuel Raj (carrier), Panner Selvan Kumar, Raja Dorai Siva, Dasiel Solomon and Srinivasan Prakash - managed to get clearance at the Immigration counter and were proceeding for the security check, some staff of the Emirates airlines noticed some suspicious behaviour. Among them Sylvester Samuel Raj hails from Tamil Nadu and he was the carrier of the group.

They immediately alerted the security personnel who found that the documents with them were fake. As the world spread about them, two members of the same group including a woman were caught at the immigration counter. Officials said they are Venkateshan Rameshand Ramesh Jaya Chitra.

"Without connivance of the immigration staff, the five Sri Lankan nationals getting clearance at the immigration counter is impossible.

We have ordered an internal enquiry," a police official said.

A team of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is grilling all the seven persons after which they were handed over to the Shamshabad police for further action. The sleuths are also questioning one Balaji, who is involved in the ground handling operations at RGIA issued boarding passes to them.

Sources said that this year alone, several Sri Lankan nationals were caught at the airport, who were mostly travelling to France or Paris.

"During their interrogation, many of them told us that they were finding it difficult to travel from the Chennai Airport because of the strict checks all through," sources said.

Meanwhile, the Shamshabad police picked up two agents Wajid and Sameer, who are involved in sending many Sri Lankan nationals to European countries en route Hyderabad. Cyberabad DCP (Immigration) B.V. Ramana Kumar said all Indian passports were obtained from Tiruchunapalli.

"Illegal travel by Sri Lankan nationals can be checked if Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes up the cases. The Cyberabad police is overburdened and our investigation might not be as effective," said an official. Express News Service



LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
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