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Gujarat HC Rejects Bail for Accused in Fake Passport Scam Citing Risk of Fleeing Using International Contacts

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Published on: November 21, 2023 at 12:33 IST

In a recent ruling, the Gujarat High Court has denied bail to an accused individual implicated in the creation of counterfeit passports and fraudulent visa stickers for multiple foreign countries.

The court emphasized concerns that releasing the accused on bail might enable him to exploit his international connections, facilitating an escape from legal consequences.

Justice Nirzar S Desai, while delivering the verdict, remarked, “Considering the fact that the allegations against the present applicant are about creating forged passports and fabricated forged visa stickers of various foreign countries, and it is coming out from the statement of various witnesses, prima facie, it seems that the present applicant is having contacts all over the world.

Therefore, looking at the nature of the allegations leveled against him, there are all the chances that if the present applicant is enlarged on bail, he may utilize his international contacts and may fly away.”

The ruling was issued in response to an application filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, seeking regular bail in connection with offenses under Section 12 of the Passport Act, 1967, along with Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, and 120(b) of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused, as per the FIR filed by Mr. Simpi, a D.C.B. Police Inspector, was allegedly involved in a criminal conspiracy to unlawfully send people to the U.S. by fabricating fake passports and fraudulent documents. The accused, along with co-conspirators, purportedly used these forged documents to deceive the Government of India and other countries, charging a significant amount for these illegal activities.

In the FIR, it was disclosed that 79 fake Indian passports were discovered at the instance of the accused, leading to the registration of the FIR.

The court considered substantial evidence, including statements from various victims and witnesses, suggesting the extensive involvement of the accused in orchestrating the illegal migration of individuals. This involved the creation of counterfeit passports, visa stickers, and other falsified documents.

Highlighting the accused’s extensive international network, the court noted routes used by the accused to facilitate the illegal transportation of individuals to foreign countries. The court also took into account the accused’s prior history, including deportation in 2002 and convictions in the U.S. before deportation.

Despite being deported and returning to India, the accused continued engaging in criminal activities, resulting in multiple offenses being registered against him.

The court concluded that the accused consistently indulged in criminal activities, making it inappropriate to grant bail.

The case is titled Bharatkumar Ramabhai Patel versus the State of Gujarat,