The police have arrested a radiographer and an anaesthetic surgeon, who carried out the surgeries, and two others who altered their fingertips.
The police in Telangana have busted a racket where surgeries were conducted to alter fingerprints to smuggle candidates into Kuwait for jobs. Four people have been arrested, including two people who altered their fingerprints to apply for a fresh Kuwait visa. The police said that the gang carried out illegal fingerprint surgeries to help people who were deported from Kuwait for illegally overstaying their visas to get back into the Gulf country.
Addressing the media on Thursday, September 1, Rachakonda commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said that the main accused in the case, Gajjalakondugari Naga Muneswar Reddy, is a resident of Kadapa. He had been working as a radiographer in Tirupati, where he met his classmate — second accused Sagabala Venkata Ramana, who is an anaesthesia technician. Muneshwar Reddy had met a person who was working in Kuwait and was deported to India for overstaying after his visa had expired. He learnt that the man had gone to Sri Lanka, got a surgery on his fingertips and then managed to go back to Kuwait. Learning of this, Muneshwar decided to hatch a plan to earn more money through this method.
Along with Venkata Raman, the anaesthesia surgeon, Muneshwar went to Rajasthan and conducted such surgeries on two people, charging them Rs 25,000 each for the same. Then, another person from Kerala contacted Muneshwar, and the duo went to Kerala and surgically transformed the fingertips of six other people, at the cost of Rs 1.5 lakh. Three more people, who hailed from the duo’s village, also got their fingertips altered at the cost of Rs 25,000 each.
The police said that the two accused would cut the upper layer of the fingertip, remove a part of the tissue, and then surgically re-stitch the fingertip. This would alter the person’s fingerprint pattern. “In a month or two, the wound gets healed and there will be a slight change of finger print pattern,” the police said. The accused took advantage of the fact that the technology used at the Kuwait Immigration is not that advanced. The accused would alter their fingertips illegally, and then update their fingerprints at an Aadhaar centre by changing their addresses. They would then apply for a Kuwait visa and then go back to Kuwait on a fresh visa. These new fingerprints last for one year, the police said.
After receiving a tip-off, a Special Operations Team of the Malkajgiri Zone, along with Ghatkesar Police, conducted joint operation on August 28 and nabbed four persons from a hotel room inside Happy Residency Oyo Room in Annojiguda. While Muneswar and Venkat Ramana were arrested for carrying out the surgeries, Bovilla Shiva Shankar Reddy and Rendla Rama Krishna Reddy were arrested for illegally getting their fingertips altered. The police also seized various surgical equipments that were used by the two and their mobile phones.
The four have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal code including cheating, forgery, making counterfeit documents, and criminal conspiracy, as well as sections under the Aadhaar Act.
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