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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Travel agent who duped Ludhiana school students of ₹3 crore lands in police net

cities Updated: Oct 16, 2019 22:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

More than a fortnight after the owners of a travel agency were booked for duping 148 students of Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, of over ₹3 crore on the pretext of arranging visas for a trip to the United States (US), police arrested one of the accused on Tuesday late.

The accused, identified as Rajinder Bawa of Varsana Enclave, co-owner of the agency ‘World Leisure Holidays’, was booked on October 10, while his wife Anju Bawa and son Aman Bawa, the main accused, were booked on September 26 and are yet to be arrested.

The case was registered under Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 13 (1) of the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act on the complaint of school principal Sister Rashmi.

In her complaint, Rashmi said the school had arranged a trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States (US), in April this year, for which 148 students had applied. The accused took ₹2.8 lakh per student towards visa as well as other arrangements for the trip. However, the US Embassy rejected the visa applications.

While the school had returned ₹80,000 that it had kept as security deposit to parents of each student, the accused only returned ₹50,000 to each, and that too after the principal lodged a complaint with the police on July 16.

Failing to get the remaining ₹1.5 lakh, parents of 112 students lodged a complaint with the police on August 9. The police had summoned Aman and he promised to return the money, but did not keep his word.

No recovery made yet

Assistant commissioner of police (ACP, Civil Lines) Jatinder Singh said Rajinder was arrested at the petrol pump opposite KVM School on the basis of a tip-off.

The accused was produced before the court on Wednesday and remanded in two-day police custody.

The ACP said no recovery has been made from him yet. “The two other accused will be traced and arrested soon,” he said.

School principal said, “We have already returned ₹80,000 collected from the parents for the NASA trip. The police will take action against the agent and the fee will be returned to the parents.”