With 28 passports under his belt, Bharat alias Bobby Patel, knows one thing for sure. How to hoodwink regulatory authorities. Little wonder then that this “expert immigration agent” is the most sought-after name when Gujjus seek greener pastures in the US.
A Dingucha native, he began doing odd jobs in the village. His journey to becoming the kingpin of illegal immigration from India to the United States via Turkey and Mexico, is the stuff that blockbusters feed on. Believe it or not, all his 28 passports, – some of which even have his biometric information – have been lawfully granted to Bharat alias Bobby Patel!
The details of this saga are being probed but Bharat seems to have modified minor facts and obtained passports from regional offices in western India, including Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The Ahmedabad regional passport office issued the 47-year-first old’s passport in 1997.
It had his original name, birth date, and address. He visited United States twice that year to expand his illegal immigration operation. Meanwhile, his parents, wife and two children settled in the US and became citizens.
The second time around, he snuck in two young children, but was caught and arrested for human smuggling and violating restrictions of the Alien Act. He was deported to India after a US court barred him from entering the US for 99 years. He obtained a new passport in 2002. Because travelling with only one passport might have been difficult, he obtained new passports by changing a few details such as his name, surname, date of birth, or residence.
According to the investigating officer, he obtained a second passport under the name Kamal Shah from Mumbai in 2004. The date of birth on the passport had been altered.
Thereon, he obtained 21 more passports from various regions of the country. His photo was the same in all. In the last four years, he has obtained four new passports, each with his fingerprint and biometric information, including retinal imprints. He has been travelling in and out of the nation using these passports.
Yogesh Sathwara, Bhrugesh Patel, and Rajesh Patel, his collaborators, also hold 5-10 passports each. The “Dingucha kingpin” is suspected to having aided 1,500 individuals from north Gujarat in obtaining phony documents.
“Glaring errors were discovered only when leads came in from immigration officers,” added the officer. After Canadian police discovered Jagdish Patel (35) his wife, Vaishali (33) and their children Vihanga (12) and Dharmik (3) frozen to death in an empty field on January 19, Gujarat police and state authorities began cracking down on illegal immigration racket. Their deaths refocused attention on traffickers and the risky ways they use to assist migrants in illegally entering the United States. Since then, the police have apprehended eight such operatives, and numerous more are being investigated.
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