CBI FILES CASE AGAINST ARMY OFFICERS FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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The CBI has registered a case against a senior army official, the wife of a Lt Colonel and a junior officer in an alleged human trafficking case involving the misuse of diplomatic passports.

The CBI registered an FIR against Brigadier H P S Bedi, who is posted in the Ceremonial and Welfare Directorate of the Army, Harleen Chadda, wife of a Lt Col in the same department and Lance Naik Suresh Babu under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Indian Passports Act.

The CBI in the FIR said Brigadier Bedi had allegedly given wrong information to obtain a diplomatic passport even though only an officer of the rank of major general and above is eligible for a diplomatic passport. The CBI further accused Harleen Chadda of forging documents and changing photographs in a diplomatic passport.

The immigration racket was brought to the notice of the Army when four persons with official Army passports were detained by immigration authorities at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The passports were traced to Suresh Babu who had allegedly sold passports of his colleagues to four illegal immigrants for Rs 50,000 each.

Suresh Babu was part of an Indian Army band that went to Germany in October to participate in the 13th Berlin Military Music Festival. According to investigations, Suresh Babu allegedly obtained official passports and sold it to people who wanted to illegally migrate to Germany. The Army authorities recovered 44 passports and Rs 1.2 lakh in cash from Babu, according to the FIR.

During questioning, Babu also claimed that he had prepared these type of passports in the past and that he prepared diplomatic passports for a senior official and woman. Investigations further unearthed that diplomatic passports were also being misused. The CBI suspects that the passport scam has a much wider net and is investigating the possibility of other accomplices.

The investigative agency registered a case following a complaint made by the defence ministry requesting it to probe the matter.

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