Fake travel agents on the prowl, cops advise caution

Fake travel agents on the prowl, cops advise caution

KOLKATA: With the holiday season ahead, cops and travel bodies in the city are advising caution as far as selection of agents is concerned.

Close on the heels of Garfa and Shakespeare Sarani police arresting travel operators for fraudulently usurping money from unsuspecting travellers, a woman residing on Rajdanga Main Road in Kasba has registered an FIR claiming a travel agent had offered her air tickets at unbelievable prices and when she turned a sub-agent for the accused, she was duped of lakhs.



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Police sources said the woman — Anasuya Chakraborty — had met accused Suranjan Nandi during a tour. Nandi claimed he had bagged tickets for Rs1,350 that offer 12 air trips to any destination within India. The victim claimed she herself paid the same amount to Nandi and travelled twice to destinations outside the state. It was then that Nandi assured her of major returns if she could convince others to opt for the scheme. Once she did that, the accused fled with the money she had collected. Those who had invested in these trips are now reportedly hounding Chakraborty for the money. The Kasba police said a bank account, where the victim deposited the money for the accused, is under scanner.

Earlier, the Garfa police had arrested Rupayan Gupta of Skylerk Travels for duping customers of Rs 1 crore. The agency, which was established in 2015, ended up duping several travellers since August this year before finally shutting shop. The police said that till last week, they had received 10 specific complaints against such tour operators.

Police said one of the travel agents had a website and received good reviews online. “There is some confusion about the name of the agency. There is another agency with almost identical name operating from Jadavpur. We are investigating if an imposter used the good name of the agency to dupe potential customers,” said an officer.

Anil Punjabi, chairman of Travel Agents’ Federation Of India (eastern India), said the firm was not enrolled with any of the three travel agents’ associations in India. “We would request everybody to cross-check if the agency they are booking their trips with has necessary legal sanctions and expertise,” he said.

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