Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pay and skip quarantine: Cops bust scam at Mumbai airport

Mumbai: Police on Friday arrested a 35-year-old sub-engineer and two accomplices in Mumbai’s Sahar for their alleged role in collecting Rs 4,000 from each flyer arriving at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) who wanted to skip mandatory institutional quarantine.

Police seized Rs 1.4 lakh cash, 200 Saudi riyals, a fake rubber stamp of home quarantine, few letterheads with stamp and signatures of doctors from some top private hospitals in the bag of Dinesh Gawande (35), who was posted by BMC at the airport since December 23 and had to check flyers from Dubai, Kuwait and US at P6 on Friday.

Police are probing if officials helped Gawande to get the bribes and the number of flyers he cleared with fake documents. If found guilty he can be imprisoned for seven years.

Gawande’s luck ran short when he barged into a toilet and returned with a bag after pushing aside a lady from the housekeeping staff who was walking in around 5.50am. “The woman complained to CISF and MIAL officials after she suspected Gawande, who claimed he was helped by Ashraf Sarang (41) and Vivek Singh (32) from the airport’s duty-free shop in making fake health certificates. The trio was booked under IPC sections for violation of prohibitory orders, cheating, forgery, counterfeiting a mark used by a public servant and under Epidemic and Disaster Act. They are in police custody till January 19,” a Sahar police officer said.

Officials, on a tip-off from the woman, checked Gawande’s bag and found a huge amount of cash along with fake documents like a fake home quarantine rubber stamp, fake signatures and stamp of doctors on four letterheads of Tata Memorial Hospital, three letterheads of Asian Heart Institute and two of a doctor of Care Medical Centre. “Gawande admitted he was collecting bribes. His bank account will be checked. He shared the money with Sarang and Singh,” said a police officer.

Singh’s lawyers Prabhakar Tripathi and Saurabh Mishra requested the court for judicial custody as the accused did not have any role in the case and he went with his team leader to assist him.

17/01/21 Times of India

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