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Three British Sikhs who pulled off a Passport Scam in 2014 plead guilty in Court

British Sikhs accept involvement in Passport Scam helping Afghans to enter UK illegally

Sikh Community, Wikimedia

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

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons
Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?