Yemeni arrest exposes flaws in passport verification

Tuesday’s arrest of a Yemeni raises several questions on the ‘credibility’ of police verification by the Special Branch of Hyderabad commissionerate, to issue passports.

Mubarak Bin Awad (30), a native of Sanaa city, had come to India a few years ago on a visiting visa, and was overstaying here. He managed to obtain an Indian passport and two Aadhaar cards and voter IDs fraudulently. He took up a job of a welder and was supporting his mother, an Indian married to a Yemeni.

“We will initiate a departmental inquiry on how our men cleared the physical verification for a foreigner. There were several instances in the past where Myanmar and Bangladesh nationals were booked for obtaining Indian passport and other Indian documents, but this case came as a surprise,” a senior police officer told The Hindu, seeking anonymity.

When a person applies for a passport, a field officer from the SB visits the applicant’s house in a week, examines documents (citizenship), verify about him in the neighbourhood and check if the applicant has criminal antecedents, before sending the file to the RPO. Regional Passport Officer. Only after this, the passport is issued or denied.

The top brass in the department constantly warn field officers not to take ‘tips’ from applicants and clear files if they find fault in the verification. “A stringent action will follow against the concerned officer who has cleared Awad’s file,” he said.

The officer said that this particular case had alerted them to be vigilant to such ‘negligence’ by their lower-level staff, which is ‘unacceptable’.

Apart from the field officer, police are also making efforts to track down the people who helped Awad in obtaining the passport and other documents.

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