The officials of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Sunday night arrested suspended assistant police inspector (API) Tushar Kadam for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore e-ticketing scam.
Ironically, Kadam (43) was one of the policemen felicitated by the state for his bravery during the July 26 deluge.
Attached to the Kherwadi police station, Kadam was suspended on February 14, after EOW officials found that he had flown to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with tickets obtained from one of the accused arrested. Kadam is the 17th to be arrested in connection with the scam.
On April 6, EOW officials had arrested Chembur resident Samir Sheikh (27), the alleged mastermind behind the Rs 13.47-crore e-ticketing scam, from Kalina after receiving a tip-off. According to the EOW, Sheikh would allegedly assign other accused arrested — travel agency employees, unemployed youths and an employee at an Andheri hotel — to intercept credit card data, book tickets in various cyber cafés and sell them.
During interrogation, Kadam allegedly revealed that he had played a “vital role” in the scam and, in return, had received free tickets from Sheikh, said Additional Commissioner of Police (EOW) Sadanand Date.
“How can an API travel by air considering the kind of salary they get?” asked a senior EOW officier on condition of anonymity.
According to the remand application, Kadam had knowingly travelled on the fraudulently booked tickets several times and had also supplied the intercepted credit card data to “his friend Sheikh”.
“Kadam had used the credit card data for a few realty dealings and had donated huge amounts in a charitable trust named Jai Matrabhoomi Foundation,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (EOW) Punjabrao Ugle told HT. “During interrogation he failed to give any satisfactory answers to some of our questions.”
Kadam has been booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and habouring an offender under the Indian Penal Code. He has been remanded in police custody till April 23.
The EOW is likely to file a chargesheet by April-end. However, if they feel that more investigation is required, they would seek an extension from the court.
- Over 15,255 tickets of Kingfisher and other airline were booked on the Internet between July 2005 and November 2006.
- The accused used to book tickets online from cyber cafés using credit card
numbers of Indian and international banks got from hotels, malls etc.
- The accused sold the e-tickets at discounted rates.
- Cash was collected from the passengers either personally or through bank accounts, but genuine credit card holders were debited.