Kabir Mia yesterday went to the Agargaon passport office to get his MRP but he instead ended up being detained for forgery and handed over to the Rapid Action Battalion.
Tanim whom Kabir identified as a broker was detained along with him.
The passport office suspected Kabir of committing forgery when it found his application form to have been filled out with information similar to the application of Shaheb Ali Sharif, from Kashiani upazila of Gopalganj.
According to Kabir, he was a tea vendor from Nabinagar upazila of Brahmanbaria and became a victim of deception by brokers who had promised to help him migrate to Malaysia.
His story begins like that of any other who looks forward to making a fortune in a foreign land -- through help from someone he knew as living abroad.
Kabir talked to a local man, Atiqur who was already working in Malaysia. Atiqur made an agreement with him that he would help Kabir get a student visa to Malaysia for Tk 3.20 lakh.
Kabir was advised to meet Tanim in Dhaka to get a machine readable passport (MRP).
He then met the broker, from Dhaka's Lalbagh area, and gave him Tk 15,000 for the passport.
Tanim, however, rejected these claims of Kabir when he was sharing his story with The Daily Star at the Agargaon office.
Kabir said he had already paid Atiqur Tk 50,000 for visa.
“He [Atiqur] told me to complete the passport's procedure with Tanim. He will then arrange my student visa.”
Tanim had introduced Kabir to another broker Parvez, from Jatrabari area. The brokers filled out the application form for Kabir's passport and submitted it to the Jatrabari passport office on February 12.
Passport officials told Kabir to receive his passport on February 21.
On the delivery date, officials at the Jatrabari office told him that he would have to contact the main office over his passport.
As Kabir went to the Department of Immigration and Passports along with Tanim yesterday, DIP Assistant Director Nasrin Pervin Nupur detected the forgery and informed the higher officials about the matter.
In fact, Kabir's application form had been filled out by the name of Shaheb Ali Sharif.
“We found Kabir's application and the police report uploaded online had similarity to Shaheb Ali's. There was another passport with the same name.” Parents' names of both the applications are also same.
DIP official Nupur confirmed that the genuine passport holder, Shaheb Ali is now staying in Malaysia.
Tanim denied his involvement in the forgery and said he was there with Kabir only to help him get the passport.
With the revelation by DIP, Kabir's dream has been shattered. But he can at least heave a sigh of relief that he was saved before losing most of what he has.
Meanwhile, Kabir's case brings to the authorities notice that passport brokers are still active across the country.
They are cheating people in various ways and putting the country at risk since militants are allegedly using fake information to get passports.
A team of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested Redwanul Azad Rana, a key member of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team, at Uttara in the capital on February 20.
He had managed to get a passport with fake information and fled to Malaysia in February 2014 to evade arrest in connection with the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, police said.
DIP Director General Maj Gen Masud Rezwan said Kabir and Tanim had been handed over to Rab for further quizzing.
Rab later released Kabir but handed over Tanim to Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station.
RAB DETAINS THREE
Meanwhile in another development, Rab detained three members of a gang involved in making fake passports and visas in the capital's Jatrabari on Sunday night.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of Rab-10 raided a home and detained Nasibur Rahman, 39, and seized fake passports, visas, computer, seals, stamps and materials used for forgery.
Based on information extracted from him, Rab detained Atikul Islam Limon, 40, and Abdul Kuddus, 35, said Jahangir Hossain Matubbar, commanding officer of Rab-10, at a press briefing at its media centre in Karwan Bazar.
Of them, Limon was a fugitive in a case. Limon used to take money from Nasibur and supply fake passports and visas, he claimed.
The gang was in the business for a long time and used to send abroad hand-written “back-dated” passports by courier. Their clients submitted those fake passports to get MRPs.
Many criminals are also going abroad using these fake passports, the Rab official said.