After Fraud Replay, Police Books Hajeej Owners

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Srinagar, Nov 01: After over a year, and a replay of last season’s fraud by Hajeej Travels, the police has finally registered a case against the owners of the pilgrim tour operator.

According to reports, a hunt is on for Abdul Waheed Gilkar and his sons, Fabian and Arsalaan, along with other officials of the company which has left another 550 pilgrims in the lurch this year.

A few top Hajeej men had been arrested outside the state last year when they went absconding after duping over 380 pilgrims, but the firm had undertaken in a Srinagar court to arrange the pilgrimage for 50 of the pilgrims in 2012 and refund the deposits of the others.

Surprisingly, the firm had been allowed to advertise its services this year also without punitive action for the previous fraud, and nearly 500 prospective Hajis had booked their seats with it this season, some of them paying Rs 30,000 over and above the going rates to secure accommodation close to the Holy Kaaba.

According to aspiring Hajis, company officials had begun withdrawing from the public scene as dates drew near for their advertised departure, and the three owners went absconding from September 10 to September 20.

“When we finally managed to contact them, the company told us to report at the court of the chief judicial magistrate here on September 29,” they said.

“This was the date of hearing for last year’s fraud, but when we tried to speak in the court, we were thrown out,” they said.

“We went to the police for legal action against the company, but got nothing but verbal assurances,” they said.

Now, that Hajj 2012 is over, the police has finally made a tentative move and lodged cases against the Hajeej owners under sections 420, 406, and 295A of the Ranbir Penal Code.

The victims attributed the action to the personal intervention of the director general of the police (DGP), Ashok Prasad, thanking the officer for showing interest in the case.

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