x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

21 held over bid to enter UAE illegally

Twenty-one people have been arrested in India and accused of trying to fly to Abu Dhabi on forged documents.

ABU DHABI // Twenty-one people have been arrested in India and accused of trying to fly to Abu Dhabi on forged documents. Police in Mumbai arrested 14 passengers and seven others who had arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport to "ensure the safe passage of the travellers". The group were arrested while preparing to board an Etihad Airways aircraft travelling to London via the UAE capital.

Shankar Yeram, a police sub inspector, said police acted on a tip-off that people were travelling on forged work visas. The accused were arrested with fake travel documents at the airport. Those arrested were carrying documents that said they were going to work in hotels, as guards, landscapers and waiters. All were from Baroda in Gujarat. Police said officers were left "unconvinced" by a "variety of changing replies" during questioning on Friday, when they were arrested.

"I cannot tell you which hotel or company sponsored them once we were able to confirm that it was fake," Mr Yeram said. It was unclear whether they were seeking to disembark in Abu Dhabi or make their way to London, he said. Police said the seven "travel agents" who were also arrested were paid Dh26,000 (US$7,085) by each of the passengers, several times the sum received for processing documents legally.

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae