Chhota Rajan Fake Passport Case: HC Seeks CBI’s Response

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of CBI on a retired government official’s plea, who is facing trial in a fake passport case along with gangster Chhota Rajan, seeking quashing of criminal and corruption charges framed against her.

Justice I S Mehta issued notice to the agency asking it to file their response before July 8 on a plea by a 62-year- old Lalitha Lakshmanan, a former public servant who worked in a regional passport office at Bengaluru. She sought quashing of the charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act framed against her by a trial court here on June 8.

Similar charges have also been framed against two other public servants — Jayashree Dattatray Rahate and Deepak Natvarlal Shah — who have also been accused of helping Rajan procure a fake passport in the name of Mohan Kumar. The trial court had framed charges also under the Passport Act against all the accused, including the gangster.

While Rajan is lodged in Tihar Jail here, the other three accused are out on bail. Lakshmanan said in her plea that the incident of alleged issuance of fake passport to Rajan occurred in Bangalore in 1998-99 and hence the trial court in Delhi does not have the jurisdiction to try the case.

In her petition filed through advocate Satya Narayan Vashisth, she also contended that no sanction for prosecution was obtained under the Passports Act and Criminal Procedure Code prior to initiation of the proceedings against her. She sought discharge from the case saying there was no material to proceed against her.

The woman has claimed that back in 1998-99, checking of applications for passport renewal was done manually and she used to handle over 300 such applications every day between 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm, and at the most, she could only be accused of oversight. She also claimed that under the Passports Act, she has “protection of good faith”.

CBI had claimed that on the basis of the passport issued in Kumar’s name, Rajan had allegedly got another passport issued on December 19, 2003 from High Commission of India at Harare, Zimbabwe, and a third one from the Consulate General of India in Sydney.

Deported after being on the run for 27 years, the 55-year old gangster, who was once a close aide of fugitive terrorist and mob boss Dawood Ibrahim, was brought to India to face trial in over 70 cases of murder, extortion and drug smuggling in Delhi and Mumbai.

Rajan was deported to India after his arrest in Bali in October last year.

PTI

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