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
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
The immigration official who was trailing Arivalagan spotted this and
took them into custody. The police arrested them after finding them
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
Security measures have been increased following many instances of
swapping. Intelligence officers are posted to monitor the suspects in
the security hold area.