A TRAVEL agency in Goregaon West allegedly duped 70 people of crores of rupees on the pretext of sending them to Singapore for employment. The travel agency’s owner is being investigated by the police, though no arrest has been made yet.
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Asia International travels, located at Topiwala cooperative housing society in Goregaon West, had provided customers tickets and visa for Singapore travel and had also conducted medical checkups. They had charged customers around Rs 80,000 for their services. But when the customers arrived at Chhatrapati International Airport to board their flights on the night of December 21 and the morning after, they ran into various problems, Goregaon police say.
“Some customers said their flight was cancelled. Some were told by authorities that their tickets were not confirmed,” an officer at Goregaon police station said.
The complainant in the case, 60-year-old Subodh Vipin Chandraseth, had been offered the job of a supervisor at a construction firm in Singapore by the travel firm. Chandraseth had paid Rs 79,500 to the travel agency. He received his ticket to Singapore on December 6 and was supposed to fly out on December 21. But when he arrived at the airport at 8.30 am on the day of the flight, he found that his flight was cancelled, police said. He was told by the authorities to get another ticket.
When he returned to the travel agency, he found around 60 people gathered there with similar complaints. According to the police, the man who runs Asia International travel agency, Sandeep Singh, and his partner Rajkumar Thakur were not present at the agency when the aggrieved customers returned. The employees at the travel agency were not aware of the situation. Chadraseth then filed a complaint at the Goregaon police station.
Chandraseth, who lives in Mumbai, had found the advertisement for a job in Singapore by the agency in a newspaper in October and had contacted the agency. Many others from different cities across the country had done the same upon seeing the advertisement for job opportunities in newspapers, internet and e-mail forwards. According to the police, different customers claim they had paid the agency in cash, cheques and online transactions. The accused, Singh and Thakur, were supposed to be present at the airport on December 21, but neither was there at the airport, police say.
The agency was closed Thursday. Adjacent shops did not know the whereabouts of the owners.
The Indian Express tried to reach the owners on the agency’s phone numbers, but all of them were switched off.
A case under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonesty inducing delivery of property) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the two accused at Goregaon police station. Further investigations are on.