Employees fake invoices, dupe travel agency of Rs 35 lakh

Jun 30, 2012, 06:32 IST | Shiva Devnath

Sold 500 air tickets at one-fourth of their original costs to three other travel agents; fraud came to light after the firm, which was billed wrongly, wrote to the owner

The Juhu police are on the lookout for Fatima Khan (30) and Sachin Acharya (28), employees of Estilo Travel Agency located in JVPD Scheme, for duping their employer of Rs 35 lakh. The duo has been accused of selling 500 air tickets to three other travel agents at one-fourth of the original prices by billing them to clients, who were unaware of the scam. The duo had even threatened suicide when the agency owner said that he would be seeking police help to solve the case. FIR against Fatima and Sachin was registered on Wednesday.

Fraud busted
According to the travel agency owner Nakul Jain, the fraud came to light in May, when one of their clients, IPCA Laboratories Ltd, got back to him stating that the firm had wrongly charged them, as none of its employees had made any of the journeys for which the agency had charged them. When Jain looked into the firm’s compliant, he discovered that the fraud was committed from March to May.

“In the last week of May, I received a letter from the IPCA, stating that the firm had been wrongly charged, and that none of their employees had travelled to the destinations mentioned in the invoices sent to the firm,” said Jain.

Realising that something was amiss, Jain informed his employees about the ongoing malpractice, and told them that he would seek police help to solve the case.

Something fishy
Afraid of getting caught, Fatima and Sachin wrote to Jain, threatening him that they would commit suicide if he approached the police. This raised suspicion in Jain’s mind and he approached the Juhu police.

“In May, when I threatened to lodge a police complaint, I received a note from Sachin and Fatima saying that they would commit suicide if I approached the police,” Jain said.

Con job ascertained
Police investigations revealed that Fatima (assistant manager) and Sachin (in-charge of hotel bookings) had connived with three travel agents, whom the duo had sold 500 air tickets at a cheaper rate. The officials also recovered Fatima’s personal diary, from the office, wherein she had entered details of the duo’s financial transactions. Fatima and Sachin had been working at the agency since 2010.

DCP (zone 9) Pratap Dighavkar, said, “We have registered a case of forgery, cheating and theft against the duo. Currently we are conducting enquiries and collecting evidence against the two before arresting them.” 


Colleague not spared
The duo had also used agency’s chief accountant Arun Malpani and his family members’ name to issue tickets to their accomplices, the three travel agents. Malpani had approached the duo asking them to book tickets for him and four of his family members on the Mumbai-Calicut route.

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