Two youths operating from Tongi had been selling fake national identity cards for the last one and a half months.
Police nabbed the duo on Friday night and seized 53,100 forged NID cards, Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said yesterday.
According to police, this was so far the largest haul of forged NID cards.
The detainees, Mohammad Aminul Islam alias Mamun, 23, and Mohammad Tawfique Islam, 25, were also found possessing photographs of 36,300 people for purposes of producing the forged documents.
“The photos were obtained from unscrupulous studios and job placement agencies which receive scores of curriculum vitae,” said Monirul during a press briefing at the DMP media cell.
The youths have confessed that they mainly distributed the fake NID cards via retailers selling phone SIM cards, said Inspector Abul Kalam Azad of Kadamtali Police Station.
“These retailers assist unscrupulous people to obtain SIM cards without proper authentication. These SIM cards could be used to conduct illegal activities without leaving a trace.”
These fake cards sold from Tk 25 to Tk 30 each.
A police team led by Krishna Chandra Mitra, a sub-inspector of Kadamtali Police Station, caught Mamun with 4,650 fake NID cards during a raid at East Dholaipar in Kadamtali of Dhaka around 10:15pm on Friday.
“After quizzing Mamun, we raided a house on Sher-e-Bangla Road in Arichpur of Tongi and arrested Tawfique Islam. We recovered the rest of the dump from this house,” Krishna said.
The fake cards were produced using two printers, a desktop computer and 20 printer cartridges.
The national ID card can be forged with any basic office equipment, said Mohsin Ali, director of operations of the National Identification Card project.
This type of forgery will no longer happen once smart cards are introduced, he added.
The NID card is the only document for identifying voters at poling stations as well as being access points to the personal details of a citizen.
The forgery also poses a threat to financial institutions as they have no system in place to verify whether a client has submitted the photocopy of a real NID card, according to top bank officials.
“The national ID card is the primary identification document we require from our clients. However, we don't have a database of citizens to verify whether or not the cards are fake,” said Shafiqul Alam, managing director of Jamuna Bank.
Deputy Commissioner of DMP (media) Masudur Rahman said, “These forged ID cards can be used by small extortionists and up to top-notch criminals. That is why sometimes it becomes so difficult to bust crime.”