Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
Three government officials have been booked for helping gangster Abu Salem and his actress-wife Monica Bedi in securing passports under fictitious names and fake addresses from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh in August last year.
Salem, a prime accused in Mumbai serial blasts, is currently under arrest in Portugal and the Central Bureau of Investigations is making efforts to have him deported to India.
The Kurnool district police, which launched investigations into the matter much before Salem's arrest in Lisbon, have zeroed in on three officials -- one each in the special branch, the mandal revenue office and the passport office.
"We have booked cases against them under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code and section 12 (B) of the Indian Passports Act," Kurnool District Superintendent of Police N Sanjay said on Sunday.
"We are investigating the matter and we will take them into custody soon," the SP maintained even as unofficial reports said that the three have already been arrested.
The police are now on the look out for a passport agent, Hamid.
The Regional Passport Office in Hyderabad has launched an independent inquiry into the matter.
Salem's passport was issued in the name of Ramil Kamal Malik. He gave House Number 17/107, RT Street, Kurnool as his residential address.
Monica's passport was issued in the name of Sana Malik Kamal. The passport mentioned House No 10/102 B, Babu Gounda Street, Kurnool as her residential address.
Sabeena Azmi, Salem's second wife, too obtained a passport from Kurnool. Her passport was issued in the name of Neha Asif Jaffrey. House No 11/90, Osmania College Road, Kurnool was mentioned as her residential address.
The residential certificates were obtained through Mandal Revenue Inspector Mohammed Yasin. Kurnool Mandal Revenue Officer Krishna Mohan Reddy issued the nativity certificates to the trio on April 9, 2001.
The three applied for passports attaching the certificates issued by the MRO in the same month. The applications were forwarded to the superintendent of police's office for police verification. Special branch Assistant Sub-inspector Sattar, who was required to personally inspect the applicants' residences to verify their antecedents, reported that the addresses furnished were correct and there were no criminal cases pending against the applicants.
The passports were issued on August 6, 2001.
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