They packed and shopped for a Dubai trip, today they feel cheated and humiliated
A fraud tour operator named Nrupathy Manay, who runs a Mumbai-based firm ‘Manay Travels’, was arrested on June 16 after some 64 victims approached police. Manay is accused of cheating senior citizens of Rs 18 lakh.delhi Updated: Jun 22, 2018 10:21 IST
Vijay Kumar Vaish and his wife were an excited couple in February. They went shopping for clothes, visited a foreign exchange office to enquire about Dirham rates and completed their first round of packing. The elderly couple’s visit to Dubai from March 8 would have been their maiden foreign trip.
But for the last three months, they are feeling “humiliated”, facing “taunts” from friends and relatives.
Vaish, 76, and his wife are among 31 elderly couples and two individuals from west Delhi’s Dwarka whose plan for a five-night group trip to Dubai came crashing because of a “fraud” tour operator.
“We lost our hard-earned money. I will never be able to gather the courage to plan a foreign trip,” said Vaish, who retired from the Indian Civil Accounts Service.
The suspect, Nrupathy Manay, who runs a Mumbai-based firm ‘Manay Travels’, was arrested on June 16, two months after the 64 victims approached the police.
“Manay was in a Mumbai jail in a cheating case. We arrested him after he got bail. Initially we suspected it to be a case of monetary dispute, but were later convinced it was fraud,” Shibesh Singh, deputy commissioner of police (Dwarka), said.
Manay is accused of cheating the senior citizens of Rs 18 lakh. At Rs 34,800 per person for a five-night stay in Dubai, the victims did not realise the offer was too good to be true.
The idea of a trip was conceived in December by Balbir Singh Yadav, president of the Dwarka Senior Citizens Association. He found company in many elders whose children were either settled elsewhere or were busy with their jobs to take them on a holiday.
“We had organised trips to Goa, Kashmir and Amritsar. A visit to Nepal last year raised our confidence,” said Yadav, a 79-year-old retired paramilitary officer.
“I sought quotations from tour operators. Others offered three-four nights for a minimum of Rs 43,000, but this one promised an all-inclusive trip for just Rs 34,800 per person,” said Yadav.
Advance payments totalling Rs 18 lakh were made in instalments by February 15. “But neither were visa arrangements made nor flights and hotels booked. On February 28, Manay said he wouldn’t be able to arrange the trip. He promised to return the money, but was lying,” alleged GN Sharma, a scientist who retired from IIT Delhi.
The victims personally met Manay at his Mumbai office. A visit to home minister Rajnath Singh on June 9 resulted in Manay’s arrest within a week but not the recovery of money.
As the legal battle continues, they regret their “blunder”. RP Gupta, a 66-year-old who retired from a private company, said his US-based son had asked him to accompany him on a Dubai trip in December.
“I politely refused as a trip with friends has its own charm. Now my son says I wouldn’t have been trapped had I accompanied him,” said Gupta.
Vaish faced taunts. “A relative visiting Dubai for four nights for Rs 49,000 asked if I enjoyed my low-cost visit.”
But the most scarred man is Yadav. “I have become a laughing stock and my credibility is at stake. But I am a warrior and will recover the money and convince my friends to plan another trip,” said Yadav.
HT tried to reach Manay Travels for a comment, but couldn’t find its website. Manay’s mobile phone numbers mentioned in the FIR copy were switched off.
First Published: Jun 22, 2018 09:33 IST