Delhi Police nabs over 100 travel agents for sending passengers abroad illegally till June this year

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) The Delhi Police has nabbed more than 100 fraudulent travel agents for allegedly sending passengers abroad from across the country, using various ways of cheating till June this year, officials said on Thursday.

This was more than 200 per cent increase as compared to the same period last year, the officials added.

These travel agents were nabbed from Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

According to a statement by the IGI Airport, 51 fraudulent agents were nabbed during the same period in 2023.

"We have arrested total 108 such agents and the arrests have been made nationwide. The police have shifted their focus towards holding agents accountable rather than solely targeting the passengers, who may unknowingly fall victim to illegal immigration schemes, often seeking better opportunities abroad," Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Usha Rangnani said.

The officer further claimed that around 75 Look Out Circulars (LOCs) have been issued for agents who have fled abroad or remain untraceable, ensuring their apprehension on arrival or departure from India.

Revealing the modus operandi of such agents, the officer said agents provide counterfeit visas that closely resemble the genuine ones to passengers. Despite their attempts to replicate the original visas, passengers are frequently apprehended at immigration check posts or airline counters, the officer said.

Even if they manage to bypass the Indian authorities, they are often intercepted at the destination country's immigration check.

"We have arrested total 19 such agents in the first six months this year who were involved in such fake visa scams. We have also arrested 11 agents who were involved in donkey routes scam (helping people cross borders illegally)," said the DCP.

The officer further said that they have also nabbed 24 agents who were allegedly involved in arranging someone else's passport with similar facial features.

"Agents procure passports of individuals with similar facial features for low-profile passengers. These passports usually have a strong travel history and robust profile, enabling the passengers to navigate the immigration process more effectively. We have also arrested three agents who were involved in changing identity after blacklisting," said the DCP.

She said an agent was arrested for allegedly disguising a man and arranging for him a passport of someone else with similar look. Giving an example, she said that recently a 24-year-old man, who disguised himself as a 67-year-old man with the help of an agent, was arrested.

"We have arrested two agents under the Fake Seaman Book who fabricate counterfeit Continuous Discharge Certificates (CDC) or Seaman Books for passengers, enabling them to travel illegally. Our teams have also arrested 21 agents for providing fake Indian passports for foreign nationals and 12 agents for tampering with passports.

"Besides that, we have arrested eight agents for creating fake travel history and seven agents with no departure case," said the DCP. PTI BM BM MNK MNK

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