Bogus travel agency takes 600 customers for a ride
Malad-based firm had taken bookings from customers after advertising holiday deals at cheap rates; 60 employees who turned up for work were shocked to see office wiped clean
Six months after advertising itself as ‘one-stop-shop for all holidays in India’, Move Holidays, a travel and tour company shut lock, stock and barrel yesterday, leaving 60 employees out of a job and more than 600 customers furious.
Police are yet to ascertain the exact figure of losses sustained by customers who had booked holiday packages from the bogus travel agency. According the police, the entire operation was a farce, only meant to dupe the public. The cops are now searching for the two owners who set up the travel agency.
The company founded on February 24, 2007, according to their website, opened the office in Malad a few months back. The agency gained popularity for offering delightful holiday packages at affordable rates, but in the last few days owners instructed staff to stop taking bookings. Employees who turned up at Kemp Plaza, Mind Space, yesterday, were baffled to see the entire office empty, with even the computers taken away.
The employees then telephoned the bosses. However their phones were switched off. Some even went to the owners’ Thane residence, only to learn that it was a fake address. Employees then approached the Bangur Nagar police station, and registered a case of cheating against the company’s two owners — Kiran Vash and Virendra Singh. Employees believe the scam may run into crores.
One of the employees, Vijeta Bangera stated that the company promised great deals on vacation packages and pushed them to lure in customers. “We were happy with the way things were going. However, since the last three days we were asked to stop booking any holidays.” Another employee Navin Joshi said, “60 of us brought in more than 600 customers, whom we have good relations with. Now, after the scam they believe we have stolen the money. In fact our salary hasn’t been paid for the last three months. We were shocked to see the office empty. How could they manage to vacate the office in one night?”
The two owners had earlier even briefed employees that they had a branch in Navi Mumbai, and would be be opening another in the city soon. They also promised employees promotion to a higher post once the new office commenced. Also the company’s registration documents were a sham. Raghunath Bagul, senior police inspector at Bangur Nagar police station, said, “Based on the complaints, we have registered a cheating case against the two owners, who are still at large. We are still calculating the exact amount defrauded from customers, as we are still recording statements and verifying documents.”