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Passport scam: former RPO acquitted and released

Thursday, December 27, 2018 • Tamil Comments

Former Regional Passport Officer Sumathi Ravichandran was acquitted and released in connection with the ‘Tatkal’ passport scam which shook the conscience of the city almost a decade back.

In 2009, Sumathi was arrested from her Shastri Bhawan Regional Passport Office by Anti-Corruption Bureau sleuths who acted on a tip off that both Sumathi and her husband Dr. Ravichandran were involved in a ‘massive scam’ of getting exorbitant money from the public for delivering passport to them via ‘Tatkal’ mode. It was reported at that time that the couple made millions by doing so.

Sumathi’s residence was raided by the CBI which recovered more than Rs.50 lakhs in cash and many unaccounted jewellery. Later, the couple was arrested and charge-sheets were framed against them. Sumathi and Ravichandran were lodged in Puzhal Central Prison along with six others (including a woman named Fathima) who were apparently ‘passport brokers’ working for a reputed travel agency in the city.

Sumathi was also tried for misappropriation of assets which were not in conformity with her known sources of income. The assets case, however, was dismissed by the Court in 2016 and she was acquitted from it. In the meantime, Sumathi has now been acquitted from the ‘Tatkal’ passport scam case too as a CBI Court set aside charges against her for want of sufficient evidence. She was released from prison yesterday.

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