London, Mar 17, 2017: Three Sikhs in British have admitted involvement in a passport scam under which they misused the passports of their family members to help Afghan asylum seekers in entering the UK wearing turbans to hide their identity in 2014.
Harmit Kapoor, Daljit kapoor and Davinder chawla, all three cousins in their 40s, pleaded guilty before the commencement of their trial at Inner London Crown Court on Tuesday, as stated in a PTI report.
They accepted two conspiracy charges in helping Afghan asylum seekers in entering the UK illegally between May and June 2014 and will be sentenced later this month.
“ We say these three are the facilitators in this organised crime, where they are using genuine British passport holders within the Sikh community. It’s a Sikh conspiracy and it’s occurring because it’s very difficult for the authorities at the border control to distinguish who’s who on the passports’” prosecutor Edward Aydin said.
The border staff failed to spot the difference in the passports shown by the Afghans, all of which had photos of Sikhs wearing their turbans.
Paying around 12,000 pounds per family to the fraudsters, around 30 Afghans are known to have successfully claimed asylum.
The Afghan families were handed genuine passports by a gang member in Paris, enabling them to get through airport security. The gang retrieved the passports once the Afghans entered the country and later reused them with new families.
Harmit Kapoor also admitted booking flights between June 8 and June 21, 2014, for the asylum seekers, while Chawla admitted hiring a vehicle to facilitate their entry into Britain when he drove to Paris.
In February 2011, Chawla had been jailed for a similar crime accompanied by four other men.
The French Authorities were alerted by Airline Staff who suspected something was wrong, leading to the immigration racket being busted.
Joginder Dawan, a 41 year old fourth suspect, pleaded not guilty to one conspiracy while pleading guilty to the charge of contributing in the offence by permitting the use of his passport for flight and travel booking. In both cases, not guilty verdicts were recorded in his favour and he was discharged.
-Prepared by Nikita Saraf, Twitter: @niki_saraf