GUWAHATI, Nov 2 � Though the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested an employee of the Regional Passport Office, Guwahati, several other major irregularities in the functioning of the office have come to light, particularly in the process of issuing passports in the Tatkal scheme.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that security agencies have already carried out preliminary probes into the alleged irregularities and submitted reports to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for further necessary action.
Sources said during the preliminary investigations, the security agencies found that even senior State Government officials were involved in the irregularities. Such irregularities may pose a threat to national security and that is why the security agencies got into the act and reported the matter to the ministries concerned of the Government of India.
According to the preliminary investigations, anyone who comes in contact with the racket, can get passports without proper verification by paying something between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000. The money is shared between a few officials and the conduits, which include businessmen.
Sources said most of the irregularities are committed in signing of the Annexure F, which is required for issuing passports under the Tatkal scheme. The investigations carried out so far revealed that a senior official of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations of the Government of Assam was involved in signing of a number of Annexure F forms without any verification and the security agencies alleged that the person used to take five thousand to eight thousand rupees for signing the forms. The name of the official with his designation was also mentioned in the report submitted to the MEA and MHA.
Sources said that several persons including businessmen have easy access to the Regional Passport office and they operate as conduits. The forms signed by officials of the Passport Office are processed in the Passport Sewa Kendra on priority basis. The names of all those persons were reported in the report submitted to the Centre.
The security agencies are also probing into the allegation that passports were issued to a number of members of the NSCN (I-M) without proper verification.
It may be mentioned here that the CBI had earlier arrested the PA of the Regional Passport Office while accepting a bribe from one of the passport applicants.