Seven people almost boarded a flight from Delhi to London using fake boarding passes, if not for the last check at the boarding gate, which found their documents fake. They had cleared immigration for the Air India flight No. AI-133 going from Delhi to London by posing as sailors with papers approved by the Directorate General of Shipping, news agency PTI reported.
On January 2, the Air India ground staff rushed into the boarding area and stopped these seven men and took their boarding passes for re-verification. Their names weren't found in the passengers' list, after which the Air India staff contacted immigration authorities to take them, the police said.
The police said the seven men each paid Rs 12 lakh to two Delhi-based agents to get their boarding passes, negative RT-PCR reports and other documents. The agents assured them of permanent settlement in Britain.
Once they reached Britain, the seven Indians planned to destroy all their papers and seek asylum.
The agents knew the seven passengers would be caught if they went to the airline counter for boarding passes, so the agents gave them fake boarding passes to go to the immigration area directly, the police said.
The police managed to trace the mastermind, Pankaj, in Uttar Pradesh's Bhadohi and arrested him. Pankaj and his aides Ranjeet and Krishna arranged the fake boarding passes, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Sanjay Tyagi told PTI.
A first information report, or FIR, has been filed, which will also look into possible involvement of airline staff who may have tried to help the passengers board the aircraft.
Pankaj is a BTech graduate and works as a property dealer in Mumbai.
The names of the passengers are Armandeep Singh, Amritpal Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Rahul Jangra, Deepak, and Manbeer, the police said.
With inputs from PTI