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How a question on his religious practice landed a ‘monk’ in German police’s net | Delhi News


For almost two years, 26-year-old Apu Barua was leading the life of his dreams — travelling across Asia and Europe, all on the basis of a fake passport, visa, and ID documents. To get by, he began projecting himself as a Buddhist monk. However, his run was cut short earlier this month in Germany when he could not give an answer to basic questions about his religious practices as a monk.

After he was caught last week, the German authorities deported Barua who was later arrested at Delhi’s IGI Airport. Delhi Police said it was Barua’s sheer “foolishness” that landed him in the net of Indian authorities.

A resident of Bangladesh’s Chittagong, Barua started his journey in 2021 after the lockdown restrictions were lifted. He first crossed the Indo-Bangladesh border from the Matiranga region; police said he was in touch with a few travel agents who forged documents in lieu of petty cash.

“He managed to reach Sabroom in Tripura and later moved to Agartala. For the first few days in India, he stayed in a hotel. He managed to procure a birth certificate, Aadhaar card, and a PAN card for Rs 6,500 from an agent,” said the police. As per police, Barua moved to Pune in the latter half of 2021 and started working at a hotel to earn money. This was followed by a stint as a security guard at a residential society.

“When he had enough savings, he approached a local resident named Hussain who got him a passport made for his foreign visits. Barua knew he would get caught unless he changed his appearance. He said he is from the Chakma tribe and followed Buddhism. Seeing monks travel across the globe, he got inspired and decided to impersonate them,” said an officer. Police said Barua bought a cowl (monk attire) and even got registered with the Gompa Association.

Festive offer

“He first travelled to Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. He wanted to visit different countries and build a travel history to appear as a genuine traveller. Later, he forged a membership letter of a respected Buddhist society and also an offer letter from a Spanish association,” said the officer.

DCP Devesh Kumar Mahla said the accused obtained a Schengen Visa to gain access to a number of European countries. He wanted to settle in Europe, said police. However, his plan was cut short in Germany where a security officer questioned him about his Buddhist

practices.

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“Though it was a random question, the accused fumbled and gave an incorrect answer. The officer started checking his documents and found his passport forged. He was sent back to India,” said a source.

At Delhi Airport, police found out that Barua was not an Indian national. Police registered a case of cheating, forgery, and sections of the Foreigners Act and Passport Act against him.

DCP Mahla said the accused is still in police custody, adding investigators are questioning him about his criminal antecedents.





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