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Frequent-flier fraud lands Nigerians behind bars

Posted by SAURABH SINHA on 2006/02/16 | Views: 571 |

Frequent-flier fraud lands Nigerians behind bars


If Bunty aur Babli stole gold from an aircraft, some Nigerians emulated them here and made a private domestic airline the target of their con job. They enjoyed air travel without paying anything and instead got richer by Rs 1,000 after each return trip, till the CISF called their bluff.

NEW DELHI: If Bunty aur Babli stole gold from an aircraft, some Nigerians emulated them here and made a private domestic airline the target of their con job. They enjoyed air travel without paying anything and instead got richer by Rs 1,000 after each return trip, till the CISF called their bluff.

For the past 25 days, a group of Nigerians used to board a flight to either Mumbai or Bangalore almost every other morning and then return the same night.

On arrival, they would get Rs 1,000 per passenger as this full fare airline is running a scheme in which same day return trip to these places earns a passenger this cash amount irrespective of his mode of payment for the ticket.

Noticing their sudden travelling trend, the CISF told their commandant J B Kaushik, who formed a team and asked the airline to do some checks as security frisking of these frequent fliers did not reveal
anything.

‘‘It was found that they were booking tickets online using someone else’s credit card. Then we tracked their next movement and three members of the group were arrested when they were returning from Mumbai recently. They admitted using this novel technique to earn Rs 1,000 per head,’’ top airport sources said. After the arrest of the three, the other frequent fliers have been grounded.

CISF became suspicious about the frequent same-day trips of these Nigerians as in the recent past, many African nationals have been a ccused of trading in narcotics. Since their security check would
reveal nothing, the staffers asked some group members why they flied so frequently on day trips.

‘‘They would cite the Rs-1,000 scheme as the reason but obviously that could not have been the only reason,’’ said sources. A one-way ticket from Delhi to Mumbai or Bangalore on this airline costs upward of Rs 3,960 and Rs 4,020, respectively. Deputy commandant P Raman, part of the CISF team, then alerted the airline about these suspicious movements.

‘‘Inquiries revealed that the fliers were booking online using a credit card number. The card-issuing bank was contacted and it got in touch with the holder, who had not authorised any such use for purchase of tickets. The card number was being used without his knowledge,’’ said sources.

The arrested persons have reportedly told security agencies that someone else was buying the tickets for them and they were flying for — apart from the thrill of good life — the cash reward.

Further investigations by the security agencies are on in the case to find the mastermind behind this high-flying con job.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.