Jalandhar, December 29

“42 FIRs against one agent, absconding since May with crores of rupees..”

The Jalandhar Commissionerate police have registered as many as 77 cases against travel agents this year in the city. Notably, as many as 42 FIRs have been lodged against one agent — Kapil Sharma, who has had his office by the name Study Express at Vasal Towers, adjoining the Police Lines. Almost all cases have been registered against him at the New Baradari police station here.

Ever since these cases began to be lodged against him around May this year, the man and his wife Anita Sharma, who had duped 42 gullible persons from in and around Jalandhar, went missing with crores of rupees earned fraudulently. The couple has come to be known as ‘Bunty and Babli’ after the name of a Bollywood movie based on a fraud couple.

The police have tried to trace the couple in Mumbai, Delhi, and even Chandigarh in the past few months, based on inputs from where they operated bank accounts but could not trace them. While Kapil’s mother Pinky Sharma, driver Bitta and a consultant have been arrested and put behind bars, the couple remains elusive.

It is learned that Kapil, who was a licensed travel agent, reportedly did quite well in the initial years and managed to send many youth to Canada on a study visa. As his name started getting popular and people started having faith in him, he allegedly hatched a plan and tried to make a quick buck and escape from the city amassing crores of rupees and even taking away original certificates and passports of some of his applicants. It was on the basis of clues obtained from some arrested persons that about 20 passports and some documents could be recovered but no cash recovery has been made yet.

A perusal of some FIRs lodged against him showed that Kapil asked his clientele to deposit an amount of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 16 lakh depending on each case. He used to get the entire money, including college fees and Guarantee Investment Certificate (GIC) funds deposited in his own account. On refusal of visa, he used to seek more funds and said he would ensure them 100 percent success on the second attempt.

Among the 42 FIRs, one has been lodged by a Nakodar-based ASI, Sukhwinder Kumar, who wanted to send his son to Canada through him. Kapil did not even spare the policeman and managed to dupe him too drawing Rs 13.5 lakh from him into his account. The ASI, who has an FIR lodged against him since May 10, recalled: “Kapil was a popular agent and had a good image at that time. My son had a gap in his studies and wanted to move to Canada. Hence, I took my son to him. He assured us to provide us a four-year diploma certificate to cover the gap. Days after I paid him the complete amount, he and his wife were gone missing”.

Officiating Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Kulwant S Dhuri said: “Kapil’s case came to me in June. Since a registered travel agent was involved in fraud, we got an inquiry to check if he was licensed. We checked his record and sent him summons through the staff of Tehsildar-1. The staff reported that his office was lying closed. We sent summons to his house at 7, New Gobind Nagar, Gujja Peer, Sodal Road. His house too was found locked. We then pasted the summons outside his house and gave him enough time to clear his position about few FIRs lodged against him at that time. By and by there were more complaints and the man remained absconding. Hence, we ordered the cancellation of his license using powers vested with us under Section 6 of the Punjab Travel Professions Regulation Act, 2014.”

Jiwan Singh, SHO, New Baradari police station, said: “The case of Kapil has been really tough for us this year. We made several attempts to nab him since May last, but to no avail. His bank accounts have been sealed. His accomplices are still under arrest but the main accused couple is nowhere to be found.”

Police failed to trace a couple

The police have tried to trace Kapil Sharma and his wife in Mumbai, Delhi and even Chandigarh in the past few months, based on inputs from where they operated bank accounts but could not trace them. While Kapil’s mother Pinky Sharma, driver Bitta and a consultant have been arrested and put behind bars, the couple remains elusive.

Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/77-cases-registered-against-travel-agents-in-city-this-year-18858