Seven persons allegedly involved in selling fake helicopter tickets to Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims were charge-sheeted on Saturday in a court in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.
While four of the accused were arrested from Rajasthan in March, three were held from Bihar in May during the investigation into complaints regarding duping of pilgrims who were sold online fake helicopter tickets for the journey from Katra to the hill shrine.
As many as fake websites were also identified and blocked during the investigation of the cases, a police spokesman said.
He said the charge sheets were filed in two cases registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act against the seven accused.
The accused were identified as Sunil Chawla, Monu Pankaj, Deepak Kumar and Gajanand Meghwal of Rajasthan and Ashok Kumar Sharma alias “Mistri”, Lakhpati Paswan and Santosh Kumar of Bihar The spokesman said that separate cases were registered at police station Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine, early this year on the basis of complaints regarding fake online helicopter ticket bookings for Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage.
After the registration of cases, special teams were formed under the supervision of Superintendent of Police, Katra, Amit Bhasin and dispatched to various parts of the country to nab the accused involved in the commission of the crime, the spokesman said.
“The police teams zeroed on suspected locations in Rajasthan and Bihar and arrested a total of seven accused, the spokesman said, adding police also seized “incriminating material” from their possession.
All the accused were brought to Katra after getting transit remand, the spokesman said.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Reasi, Amit Gupta advised all the intending pilgrims to use only the official website of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board for booking services such as helicopter tickets and not fall prey to the fraudulent advertisements issued by unauthorised websites offering confirmed helicopter tickets and sale of Prasad.