French visa fraud mastermind escaped from India: CBI

A former employee of the French Embassy here who allegedly perpetrated a massive fraud by issuing visas to hundreds of people, including his parents, on the basis of fake documents without the knowledge and approval of sanctioning authorities has escaped from India, officials said. The CBI had booked Shubham Shokeen and another former employee, Aarti Mandal, in the case on the basis of a complaint from the French Embassy.
It was alleged that Shokeen issued visas on the basis of forged documents after accepting illegal gratification of Rs 50,000 per application without the knowledge and approval of the head of the visa department of the embassy from January 1, 2022, to May 6, 2022.
Shokeen dealt with 324 files relating to requests to issue visas during the period, the CBI has alleged. The CBI was on the trail of Shokeen after the registration of the case, but it found that he had escaped the country before the FIR was lodged by the agency last December.
During the searches, the CBI seized the passports of Shokeen’s parents — no. U6107931 belonging to his father Samunder Singh and no. U1489667 belonging to his mother Anita Shokeen — on which ‘ETATS SCHENGEN’ visa stickers bearing numbers 601039921 and 601039919, respectively, were pasted.

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