SURAT: Police busted a racket of visa application to British High Commission on the basis of forged documents with the arrest of a 32-year-old travel agent and two of his clients in Valsad on Friday. Police produced the travel agent in a local court which remanded him in their custody until May 21. Six people have been booked altogether in this connection at Valsad town police station.
Accused Soyeb Saiyed, a resident of Bhagadawada area in Valsad, is owner of Soby Tour and Travel. Tabrez Sharafat Husain Gebi and Mohamed Shakil Hanif Shaikh, both from Valsad, who too were arrested, had applied for visa to the United Kingdom in 2018 through Saiyed. Three others who were booked were Mohmed Imran Basir Ahmed Doctor, Sarfaraz Abdul Kadir Saiyed and Riyaz Chhotu Panjwani. Police investigation revealed that Sarfaraz and Riyaz are currently in South Africa. Tabrez Sharafat Husain Gebi and Mohamed Shakil Hanif Shaikh have been sent to judicial custody.
The complaint was lodged by Darren Fraser, immigration liaison officer of British High Commission, New Delhi. The accused were booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code for forgery, forgery of valuable security, forgery for cheating and using a forged document etc.
Police suspect around 40 visa applications of clients for the United Kingdom had been filed by Saiyed who had his office at D N Shopping Centre opposite Gandhi Library and that most were cleared. Detailed checking by document verification unit of British High Commission has found that Saiyed had submitted forged income tax returns, bank balance certificates and travel agency letters on behalf of his clients.
“It is an unusual case where so many applications with forged documents had been filed. Since it is a serious matter, we immediately arrested the accused,” said Sunil Joshi, superintendent of police, Valsad. The investigation of the case has been now handed over to local crime branch.
Police are investigating if Saiyed had taken help of others to produce forged documents. The accused produced forged income tax returns and bank statements to show higher income or bank balance of his clients. He also forged some top travel agency’s offer letters to help the applicants to get visa.
“We are investigating how many people had applied for visa through Soyeb Saiyed and if they all used forged documents,” police said.