MUMBAI: A 22-year-old man who had a compulsive desire to fly and allegedly used to cheat passengers by telling them he needed money for an emergency has been arrested on Tuesday at Mumbai airport.
Madela Venkat Dinesh Kumar, a college dropout, who hailed from Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, would hang around near the airport area to swindle people, telling fake stories that he was in trouble and was in an emergency situation, and take money from them for his flight tickets.
As per Sahar police station official, he had told a passenger Raghunandan Thakre in January that he had missed his flight and had to attend an examination. The man out of pity, gave him Rs 7,500 to buy a ticket believing that he would return the money. The accused also shared his phone number.
However, Thakre saw the man indulging in a similar act recently and realized that he was cheated by him and, immediately informed the police. Mumbai Police said that the accused had confessed to having 13 such cases against his name.
In November last year, he was nabbed by CISF personnel at the RGIA in Hyderabad. He was earlier arrested at Bengaluru for a similar offense.
The accused a degree student apparently had a compulsive desire to fly every day and under the pretext of going out for studies, he would apparently fly in and out of cities and come back home by evening. As he was not well off, he would approach the passengers at the airport and appeal to them to buy him an air ticket as it was an emergency and promising to repay the money after he reached home, but avoided their calls later.
He had cheated nine passengers this way at Delhi Airport, Bengaluru Airport, and Chennai Airport, collecting an amount of more than two lakh rupees in this manner. He was out on bail and committed the same crime. He has been remanded to police custody till June 16 and has been booked for cheating under Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the Mumbai police.