The Ernakulam rural police remain puzzled by the sudden spurt in attempts to fly abroad using forged educational and travel documents.
As many as 12 cases were registered this month alone for such illegal attempts to fly to the U.K. through the Cochin International Airport Limited. This has prompted the formation of a special investigation squad led by Aluva DySP to probe these cases.
“The accused were charged with different offences, including forgery of educational qualification certificates and travel documents. They were found in possession of fraudulently secured student visas. We are not ruling out the involvement of an inter-State racket behind these incidents,” said K. Karthik, District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural).
He said that this was a latent phenomenon unlike job frauds, which were rampant. The ones nabbed were found to be in possession of the degree and plus two certificates forged in the name of major universities within the State and outside like the Kerala University, Mahatma Gandhi University, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith University, Banaras Hindu University, Madurai Kamaraj University etc.
Most of the forgeries were found to be in the name of distant education courses. While most of these universities offer such courses, it requires applicants to follow a proper protocol, including attending classes and appearing for exams at selected centres.
Four youngsters offloaded by the Emigration wing at CIAL on Sunday had allegedly paid between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 90,000 for securing the forged certificates. They were on their way to the United Kingdom on student visas. Such frauds could bring disrepute to the genuine students from here in UK, Mr. Karthik said.
An Ernakulam-based lobby is suspected to be behind the racket. A consultancy firm in Aluva was also inspected in this regard. The forged certificates were reportedly secured from different places like Kottayam, Malappuram, and Kozhikode.
The investigation team is probing the possibility of more such forgeries and even cases in which people would have managed to skip scrutiny and actually flown abroad. Police are keeping a close eye on fly-by operators who offer various courses without any recognition.