Srinagar, Feb 11 : Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir today summoned the Sales Managers and other sales staff of all the Airlines which are operating from Srinagar Airport for questioning regarding the ticket sales at exorbitant rates.Police sources informed KNS that that the concerned officials were called for questioning after Crime Branch registered cases against ticketing agents and airlines operating in J&K under Section 420, 468, 471, 409 r/w and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.Sources added that they will unearth this nexus so that all those who were involved in fleecing the customers would be dealt according to law.The Sales division officials of all the Airlines were questioned at Crime Branch headquarters for the whole day. All the documents regarding the sale of tickets were thoroughly investigated.Officials of these airlines confirmed to KNS that they were called for questioning by the police regarding the exorbitant rates of air tickets.Interestingly, soon after the case was registered in air ticketing fraud, the rates of air tickets for Srinagar destination dropped ,The Travel Agents in Jammu and Kashmir in connivance with the Airlines were fleecing people by selling them air tickets at exorbitant rates particularly when the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway gets closed.The preliminary investigation conducted by Crime Branch suggested that travel agents in league with airlines staff were buying group tickets in bulk from the airlines and then selling them at exorbitant prices which is against Director General Civil Aviation norms.Earlier Crime branch, Kashmir registered a case against the ticketing agents and airlines operating in J&K under Section 420, 468, 471, 409 r/w Section 120-B IPC.The action was taken after the Crime Branch Kashmir received complaints from various travel associations and trade bodies through Director Tourism Kashmir regarding alleged sale of air tickets by various travel agents on highly exorbitant rates by acting in league with air lines staff.
The Crime branch conducted an enquiry on these complaints at Police Station Crime Branch Kashmir, which revealed that the officials of various airlines sell group tickets in bulk in the name of passengers who are not members of any group and neither have sought their tickets as group members.
The tickets obtained in advance by the travel agents as group tickets are black marketed by them at exorbitant prices as individual tickets and airlines staff accept individual as group tickets passengers as group members at the time of check- in, in violation of terms and conditions of air lines for group booking.It transpired that air lines, by selling the bulk tickets in advance to travel agents, create an artificial & imaginary shortage in respect of availability of tickets online for general Public, which directly impacts the price index and results in high inflation in the air travel fares, thus paving way for fleecing of general Public by travel agents who, by purchasing tickets at a very low cost sell these tickets at high rates.
Thus, the travel agents by acting in furtherance of criminal conspiracy hatched with air lines staff, have been cheating the bonafide passengers and causing loss to the Public exchequer by tax evasion with corresponding wrongful gain.