Tibetan refuge from US arrested at Delhi airport for swapping travel document for 40 lakh

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Jan 19: A Tibetan refugee from the US has been arrested on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi for swapping his travel documents with a Nepalese citizen for Rs 40 lakh.

Wangyal Pema, a Tibetan refugee from the US and Rajendra Gurung a Nepalese citizen have met through a tout and the duo striked a deal, wherein Gurung who desperately wanted to go to the US gave INR 40 lakh to travel on Pema’s documents,according to a report published by The Hindustan Times.

Wangyal had a ticket for United Airline flight UA-83 to Newark, USA and Rajendra, had a ticket for Air India flight to Mumbai, both operating from the international side of Terminal 3 on Sunday. After passing the immigration channel with their respective documents, they went to the washroom and exchanged their travel papers.

When Gurung tried to board the flight to the US, the airlines staff alerted the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) as they got suspicious of Gurung while checking his documents.

Gurun, while being interrogated, confessed to the security officials that he has paid Pema INR 40 lakh to exchange their travel papers and said he thought he could get pass the security men as they looked alike. He further revealed that he is a Nepalese citizen and his real name is Rajendra Gurung, the report added.

After Gurung gave out their plan, Pema was also arrested by the police from the boarding gate and handed over to the immigration officials.

“We have got the custody of Gurung and are interrogating him; we will need an interpreter to interrogate Pema. Initial investigations show that Gurung had planned to get a refugee status in the US and paid Rs 40 lakh to Pema,” the report quoted DCP (airport) Sanjay Bhatia as saying in the report.

They are currently under Delhi police custody and further investigations are on.