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BSF seize 82 fake licences from truck drives ferrying from Bangladesh

For illustrative purpose only.

The Border Security Force (BSF) discovered at least 82, truck drivers, using fake driving licences to ply trucks to and from Bangladesh in a surprise check at Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP) in West Bengal, the largest land port on the Indo-Bangladesh border, in the last two days, a trend with major security implications.

The news: The Indian Customs and Land Port Authority has been told that drivers with phoney licences would not be permitted, and the force has filed a police report to investigate the bigger conspiracy.

What happened: Surprise checks were conducted at the Petrapole ICP on January 16 and 17 after the border guarding force received information that a few drivers were involved in trans-border crimes such as smuggling of gold, silver, phensedyl syrup, drugs, and other items while engaged in export and import of goods between India and Bangladesh.

  • It discovered 52 false licences on the first day and 30 more phoney licences in 30 more trucks the next day while examining the authenticity of drivers’ licences.
  • All 82 false drivers’ licences were handed over to Customs.

What they’re saying:  According to BSF spokesperson Krishna Rao, “It was conveyed to the appropriate officials of Customs and Land Port Authority of India that BSF cannot allow such trucks to go to Bangladesh whose drivers have been identified in possession of a false driving licence.”

  • “Since such drivers receive bogus car passes from the Customs Department on the basis of driving licences, and BSF authorises the trucks to enter Bangladesh.”
  • To ensure that trade between India and Bangladesh runs smoothly, the BSF has also informed the Bangaon Transport Association across the border to observe the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) so that the nations’ security and interests are not jeopardised.

What’s going on: Petrapole ICP is South Asia’s largest land port, located roughly 80 kilometres from Kolkata on the international boundary between India and Bangladesh. Petrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) is a major land border crossing for both nations in terms of trade and passenger movement, accounting for roughly 30 per cent of all land-based trade between the two countries.

  • The Petrapole ICP has seen an increase in passenger movement since it opened in February 2016, with an average of 22 lakh persons crossing the border post on either side each year.
  • A BSF spokeswoman explained why the force chose to beef up security at Petrapole by stating that on January 4, the force confiscated smuggled gold worth roughly $1,44,22,356 from a transporter who was attempting to flee on a bike.
  • The gold was smuggled out of Bangladesh by concealing it inside a truck headed for the United States.
  • Similarly, on July 19, 2016, an Indian driver travelling from Bangladesh was apprehended with gold valued Rs. 1.71 crore.
  • On August 21, 2021, an empty Indian truck returning from Bangladesh after offloading export goods was discovered with Saudi Riyal valued 1,68,38,500.
  • The BSF confiscated 50 kilogrammes of marijuana from an Indian vehicle on January 9 this year, following many seizures of illegal items, including narcotics, in recent months.

“Indian transporters, labourers, drivers, helpers, and other agents and sub-agents have been established in all of these unlawful businesses,” Rao claimed.

“It’s also worth noting that drivers with fraudulent drivers’ licences have been known to cause traffic accidents.”

In the month of October 2021, the BSF lost one of its jawans when he was hit by a truck driver. As a result, the BSF must verify the authenticity of the driver’s licence,” he explained.

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