SRINAGAR, Feb 11 (Agencies): Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir 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.
Sources said that they 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.
Soon after the case was registered in air ticketing fraud, the rates of air tickets to and from Srinagar airport have fallen. “The Delhi-Srinagar tickets that were being sold at Rs 14, 000 last week have come down to Rs 6, 000. How it is possible? It means that they were fraudulently doing this. I booked my Srinagar ticket for February 21 for Rs 12000 last week”, said one Bilal Ahmad.
The Airlines Sales division of all the Airlines were questioned at Crime Branch headquarters for whole day. They were asked to bring the relevant documents and were questioned about their modus opernadi.
The Travel Agents in Jammu and Kashmir in connivance with the Airlines have been fleecing people in Kashmir and tourist by selling them air tickets at exorbitant rates during peak of tourist season and in winters when the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway gets closed.
The preliminary investigation conducted by Crime Branch suggested that travel agents were buying group tickets in bulk from the airlines and then selling them at exorbitant prices. Sources said that they were selling the group tickets to individuals without their knowledge which is against Director General Civil Aviation norms.
As per the DGCA norms, the travel agents have to give the names of the group travellers in 7 days in advance and most of the group travellers are related. But they were selling group tickets a couple of days before the travel date at exorbitant rates and airlines helping them in blocking these tickets. Sources said that airlines’ staff was helping them
in such sales for which they were getting their share.
Crime Branch sources said that they were also allowing unrelated group travellers to check in individually which was again in violation of the DGCA norms.
Crime Branch has also found that the travel agents were also involved in tax evasion by selling morphed tickets. “The tickets that they were purchasing for around Rs 2000, they were selling them at any price ranging from Rs 10, 000 to Rs 20, 000. But on papers they were showing their selling price Rs 2000 only and by this they were evading tax”, the sources said.
They added that the travel agents may also be booked under tax evasion. The action was taken by the Crime Branch after they received complaints from various travel associations and trade bodies through the Tourism Director regarding alleged sale of air tickets by various travel agents on exorbitant rates, acting in league with Airlines staff.