The Mumbai police on Wednesday arrested a man who allegedly bought online plane tickets worth Rs 13.47 crore using the credit card numbers of 15,255 persons and, posing as a travel agent, sold them to unsuspecting fliers.
Ahmed Sheikh, 27, obtained the numbers of the credit card numbers from hotels, restaurants and malls in which they had been used. Along with a clutch of accomplices, he went to various cybercafes in the city and bought the tickets from there.
Afterwards, he sold the tickets at discounted prices. All the tickets were bought from Kingfisher Airlines. Most of the credit cards used for the transactions were from ICICI bank.
The consumers whose credit card numbers Sheikh had got hold of were stunned when they received their bills at the end of the month. They began to complain to ICICI bank. The complaints swelled between July and November 2006.
The bank suspected that something was wrong. It accepted the fact that customers who were complaining had not actually spent the money on tickets and assured them that they would not have to pay for transactions they had not done. And it charged the amount — Rs 13.47 crore — back to Kingfisher Airlines.
The airline complained to the Economic Offences Wing on December 20 last year, and the investigation began. The police are now trying to find out the locations of computers from which Sheikh and his accomplices operated.