Bangalore: A passport scam has now surfaced in Karnataka. The state Lokayukta has indicted six senior government officers of taking bribes in return for issuing verification on passports. Over 1,000 such verifications were issued over a period of five months.
The state anti-corruption unit in its report alleges that the senior officers, including a DGP-rank police officer and a retired IAS officer took bribes up to Rs 16,000 to verify a single passport. In total, the six officers gave certificates for nearly 1,000 passports over a period of just five months in 2012.
"We have recommended action against these officers under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Indian Passports Act and the Indian Penal Code. Now it is left to the passport officer to lodge a complaint or whether they want to conduct their own enquiry further," said HSN Rao, ADGP, Lokayukta Police, Karnataka.
The list of officers includes IPS officer Susant Mahapatra, DGP (Training), took bribes ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 16,000 for each passport. Under the Tatkal scheme, an applicant can get a verification certificate from an IAS/IPS (administrative) cadre officer instead of the regular police verification process. The officer concerned will certify that the applicant does not attract any provisions where the passport authority shall refuse him a passport.
The Lokayukta police have been able to verify the background of only 87 of the 1,000 passports but the big question is whether there could be a risk that the passports could fall into the wrong hands.