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Lankan among two arrested for swapping boarding passes in India

Two persons, including a Sri Lankan trying to get to London illegally, were caught at the Chennai airport when they tried to swap their boarding passes at Chennai airport on Tuesday morning.

Immigration officials took into custody Arivalagan, 28, a Sri Lankan settled in Tiruchi since 1997, and his friend Kumar, 31, a native of Thanjavur, after trailing them out of suspicion. They were handed over to the police.

The duo had apparently hatched the plan meticulously, but Arivalagan's Sri Lankan Tamil accent raised the immigration officers' suspicion when his papers showed him as an Indian. Police said Kumar was helping out Arivalagan, a native of Adikoviladi Jaffna in Sri Lanka, to get to London, where his brother is working.

Arivalagan got a passport in the name of Karunanidhi Ramaswamy of Kumbakonam. He got a ticket to Dubai for Tuesday. Kumar also got a ticket to London for the same day. The Dubai flight was scheduled at 5.30 a.m. and the London flight at 6 p.m.

Both Arivalagan and Kumar reached the airport and followed the usual procedures. When the immigration officials were checking Arivalagan's passport, they detected a Sri Lankan Tamil accent. They started following him.

Kumar's immigration check went off smoothly and the duo came out to the common area to board the flights. Here, they exchanged the boarding passes.

The immigration official who was trailing Arivalagan spotted this and took them into custody. The police arrested them after finding them guilty.

Immigration officials in Chennai have registered 11 such cases of swapping boarding passes in 2008 as against 15 in 2007. Toilet or smoking area is the preferred area where illegal emigrants swap the boarding passes.

Security measures have been increased following many instances of swapping. Intelligence officers are posted to monitor the suspects in the security hold area.

 

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