The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday arrested Regional Passport Officer (RPO) of Chennai, Sumathi Ravichandran, her husband and Medical Officer in the Chennai Corporation, Ravichandran, and two travel agents on charges of corruption.
They were produced before a special judge and remanded to judicial custody.
According to a Superintendent of Police of the CBI, Fathima Muzaffar Ahmed, a travel agent of Ahmed World Travels, T.Nagar, allegedly demanded Rs.9,000 as bribe to be paid to the Regional Passport Officer from P.Lakshmanan of MGR Nagar, who had applied for a passport under the tatkal scheme. This was in addition to the prescribed fee and service charge of Rs.1,000.
Mr.Lakshmanan lodged a complaint with the Superintendent of Police (Anti-Corruption Branch), S.Murugan, and a special team was formed to investigate it.
Ms.Ahmed took the applicant to the Passport Office at Shastri Bhavan at 4 p.m. on Friday. Though Ms. Sumathi Ravichandran was not present, she had allegedly given instructions to the Deputy Passport Officer, Rukmangathan, to process the application brought by the agent. It was cleared for issue of passport under the tatkal scheme.
At this stage, the team took Ms.Ahmed into custody and searched her office. A sum Rs.9,000, which was the alleged bribe, was seized.
Officials later searched the residence of the RPO at Kilpauk.
During the operation that commenced late on Friday night, CBI officials recovered cash and documents.
The team also searched the clinic of Dr.Ravichandran on Greams Road.
Investigators are checking at random the profile of applicants who were given tatkal passports in recent months. Raju, a travel agent allegedly associated with Dr.Ravichandran, has also been arrested.