Pak visa scam puts London Olympics at security risk

Nine people, including five women, were arrested today by Pakistani authorities for their alleged involvement in a visa scam that could have allowed terrorists to sneak into Britain along with the country's Olympic team.

hidden July 24, 2012 17:59:05 IST
Pak visa scam puts London Olympics at security risk

Lahore: Nine people, including five women, were arrested today by Pakistani authorities for their alleged involvement in a visa scam that could have allowed terrorists to sneak into Britain along with the country's Olympic team.

Among those arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were Lahore-based officials of the passport office and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and employees of a private travel agency.

At least five women were among those arrested.

The arrested persons allegedly helped an undercover reporter of the British tabloid The Sun acquire a Computerised National Identity Card and a Pakistani passport.

After the tabloid exposed the scam yesterday, the Interior Ministry took action and suspended 12 officials of the passport office and NADRA in Lahore.

The ministry also constituted a special team of FIA and NADRA officials, which arrested the nine persons.

"We have taken into custody some employees of the NADRA office in Bhagwanpura and the passport office in Garden Town, including Deputy Director Iqbal Shahid and Assistant Director Mubashir Tirmizi, for issuing a passport in a false name," an Interior Ministry official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The investigation team has recorded the statements of some other employees, the official said.

Pak visa scam puts London Olympics at security risk

Nine people, including five women, were arrested today by Pakistani authorities for their alleged involvement in a visa scam that could have allowed terrorists to sneak into Britain along with the country's Olympic team. AFP

The team is expected to submit its report to Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik on Thursday, he added.

Cases had been registered against a total of 18 people for their alleged involvement in the scandal, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Sources said PML-N worker Abid Chodhary, who works for the Dream Land travel agency, helped The Sun's reporter in obtaining a passport.

Chodhary has gone into hiding to evade arrest, they said.

Authorities had already included his name in the Exit Control List, a document that lists people barred from travelling out of Pakistan.

The Sun reported its journalist had infiltrated a criminal ring that offered false passports, visas and access to the 2012 London Olympics as "bogus support staff" of the Pakistani team.

The ring provided its undercover reporter a genuine Pakistani passport in a false name, the tabloid reported.

The scam centred round Lahore-based Dream Land travel agency and Chodhary, who claimed he could get a two-month visa and smuggle a person into the games as part of Pakistan's Olympic squad for 7,000 pounds.

In a related development, a spokesman for the Pakistan Olympics Association said it would not be possible for any "unwanted person to travel to London on fake documents as an official member of the Pakistan contingent" because all 39 members of the Pakistani Olympic squad are "bona fide persons duly accredited by the London Olympics Organising Committee."

PTI

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent says Tokyo Games should be called off amidst COVID-19 pandemic
Sports

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent says Tokyo Games should be called off amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The four-time Olympic gold medallist tweeted that it would be "ludicrous" to host an event with thousands of people flying in from around the world.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Organisers say Summer Games 'safe and secure' despite COVID-19 emergency
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Organisers say Summer Games 'safe and secure' despite COVID-19 emergency

Japan has ordered a state of emergency for Tokyo and the surrounding areas until next month due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: With coronavirus spreading and Tokyo entering emergency, torches off display
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: With coronavirus spreading and Tokyo entering emergency, torches off display

The rapid spread of the virus in Japan is imperiling plans for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, which are to open on 23 July . The Paralympics begin on 24 August.