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Age no ‘bar’ in city as fake ids abound


Hyderabad: While the police has cracked the whip on under-age drinking, and has urged bar owners to scrutinise identity cards before serving liquor, the situation on the ground remains bleak, with fake identity cards easily available across the city.

The dangers of under-age drink driving came to the fore after the death of nine-year-old Ramya and two others in a ghastly accident on Road No 2, Banjara Hills, recently. Even though authorities renewed their focus on curbing the menace post the accident, cops on the streets as well as the hotels’ association claim that checks on under-age drinking remain impossible to implement because of the ease with which fake identity cards can be obtained.

PAN cards, driving licences as well as other documents, with desired age and name, can be easily acquired with the help of forged documents and are being churned out by the dozens, sources say . In fact, getting a fake ID merely requires the handing over of two passport size photographs and between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 to ‘agents’. In fact, one agent from Marred pally area has been churning out fake PAN cards at a mere Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,200.And, in an added benefit, he said, he would even deliver the same home. “If an ID proof is available well and good, but if it’s not available, you can hand over two photographs, sign the forms and hand over the money . I will manage the rest,” he said, offering to even get a passport made easily , once the PAN card is made. “It has to be done step by step,” he added.

An online service agent, Shaikh, further said, “If there are no proper documents, an attested certificate from gazetted officer will do. These can be made easily .” Other agents agree that getting a certificate from a gazetted officer is ‘no big deal’. Most street-side notaries get it done for a meagre Rs 150 to Rs 200.

With many such agents across the city linked to small-time kirana shops, mobile shops and even laundry shops in residential areas, cracking down on them has been a mammoth task for officials. Several agents also depend on word of mouth for their business. After Ramya’s death, TGI Fridays lost its licence for serving liquor to the under-age accused. Bars and restaurants across the city were told to ensure they did not serve alcohol to customers without checking their IDs.

However, the National restaurant association of India has said that restaurants and bars are `not equipped to handle’ the issue of ‘fake ID cards’ which are available in large numbers in the city. “If a person shows an ID stating that he or she is over 21 years, owners cannot deny any service to such a customer. Concerned authorities need to take appropriate action in this regard so as to curb the menace of under-age drinking,” said Riyaaz Amlani, president of the association. The most common fakes, industry insiders say , are PAN cards and driving licences.

While they don’t deny the problem being faced by bar managements, traffic cops say restaurants and bar owners are not doing their bit and instead taking the easy way out. “Most of the bars do not check ID proofs, some just ask for a photocopy . Although fake IDs are a problem, but it is not like every person they ask for a proof produces a fake ID.If they check, then they will be safe and the blame will fall on the offender who has produced a fake ID. The offender will be booked under relevant section for criminal proceeding,” said AV Ranganath, DCP (traffic), Hyderabad.

Source: Times of India

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