A man was arrested at the Kolkata airport on Friday with 600 blank boarding passes of Air India, prompting the state-run airline to launch a probe into an alleged fraud in the LTC scheme for government employees.
The person, identified as Satyender Kumar Verma, was intercepted this morning at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport when he was about to board a Spicejet flight to Port Blair, airport security officials said.
His hand baggage was scanned leading to the recovery of the blank AI boarding passes numbering 600, they said.
Verma, a resident of Nalanda district in Bihar, was later handed over to local police which arrested him.
"We have begun an investigation into the case and the recovery of such large number of blank boarding passes. All possible angles are being looked at. The airline is already probing certain instances of fake air travel tickets in the past," Air India Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) B K Maurya told PTI in Delhi while confirming the incident.
The airline suspects a modus operandi in which the blank boarding passes, like those in possession of Verma, were used by unauthorised agents to generate fake travel records for government employees eligible for Leave Travel Concession (LTC) facility extended by the central government.
It is suspected that these agents, in connivance with the passengers, would initially book an Air India ticket to a popular holiday destination and then cancel it and get a ticket from another airline to the same destination, airline sources said.
Later, the agent would generate the blank boarding pass as a substitute for the LTC scheme for the passenger to claim reimbursement from the government, thereby resulting in a loss to the exchequer, they said.
While perpetrating this fraud, the passenger saves a handsome amount and the agent gets his commission.