Police looking for travel agent who duped clients

Police areon the hunt for a sales staff at a travel agency who sold business class tickets forthe price of one way economy class and embezzled more than Dh500,000.

MF, a sales agent at Al Diyafa Tourism in Dubai, is accused of selling morethan 150 to 200 tickets to Indians from Kerala, who were travelling home forholidays.

For just Dh1,500 he issued many of his customers with business class return tickets to Kerala. Currently economy class tickets to Kerala are priced above Dh2,000 plus taxes.

Having billed the amount through the travel agency he issuedonline tickets, using the travel agency’s accounts and managed to flee thecountry last week with the cash collected from passengers.

Theincident came to light when one of the tickets he issued, was cancelled by atravel agency following non-payment. MF, who is from Malappuram in Kerala, issaid to have attracted customers through his friends and relatives.

As hepromised to offer lower fares and at times business class tickets for cheap, manywho were travelling rushed to book tickets using his service.

Accordingto Mohammed Tariq, the owner of the company, all the passengers who bookedtickets through MF never visited the agency’s office. “He managed to steal acash receipt book and was collecting money through several of his friends andissuing receipts and tickets. Many passengers who are now claiming to have paid MF only have tickets and no receipts,” said Tariq who has already repaid majorityof those customers who were cheated.

“Only todaywe repaid some staff from Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, all from Keralawho had booked tickets through MF. A case has already been filed in Indiaagainst him and police there are searching for him with an arrest warrant. Weare also working with the Dubai police to register an FIR here. We are still inthe process of getting all the documents translated into Arabic,” added Tariq.

Meanwhile,Shamser who works in Sharjah says he alone had organised tickets for about 60to 70 customers through MF. “When I realised that tickets were selling cheap,I told all my friends, who informed their friends and many ended up purchasingtickets from him. Finally when one of the customers was stranded in Sharjahairport, after his ticket was blocked I had to pay from my pocket to arrange anemergency ticket for him,” he said.

MFl whohas been working with the agency for almost eight months now is said to havebeen very studious and hardworking. “He was always on time and worked hard tomeet deadlines. His father and wife would visit the  office at least once every two months. Thelatest information is that he had also cheated his former employers in Saudi Arabia. He even married claiming to be a pilot. His wife has since moved a divorcepetition against him,” says Tariq.

Accordingto him the Indian Consulate in Dubai is aware of the incident and is workingwith the agency to settle the issue in a way where passengers who paid fortheir tickets and were cheated are able to fly home for holidays.

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