New Delhi: A retired government official, who along with gangster Chhota Rajan is facing trial in a fake passport case, has moved Delhi High Court seeking quashing of criminal and corruption charges framed against her.
The petition by the 62-year-old woman, a former public servant who worked in a regional passport office at Bengaluru, has 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.
Lalitha Lakshmanan has 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 has 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 has also claimed that under the Passports Act, she has "protection of good faith".
According to CBI, Rajan had got his first fake passport issued from Bengaluru on January 1, 1998 allegedly in connivance with the other accused persons.
The CBI said Rajan had allegedly got his passport issued twice from Indian missions abroad on the basis of fake travel documents issued to him in the name of Kumar from the Bengaluru passport office in 1998.
CBI filed a charge sheet for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery under the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Passport Act.
It said these officers had allegedly ignored rules and regulations of verification while issuing the passport on fake identity and address.
CBI 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.