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Canada warns Jet Airways

Ajit Jain in Toronto | February 03, 2009 19:37 IST

India's top private carrier Jet Airways [Get Quote] has reportedly been warned by the Canadian authorities that dozens of their passengers from India are arriving at Toronto's Pearson Airport with fake travel documents.

The airlines might be barred from operating flights to Canada if its agents 'didn't do a better job detecting passengers travelling on bogus passports,' reports said.

As a result, Jet Air has now 'reassigned responsibility for passenger security checks to its security division from its customer service department,' claims a front-page report in Tuesday's Toronto Star.

It quotes Jet spokesperson Ragini Chopra as saying, "We want to root out this menace as much as anyone."

Starting this week, Jet employees in Brussels will be trained in identifying fake travel documents, Raja Segram, Jet Airways vice president for European operations, was quoted as saying.

Brussels is the Jet Airways hub in Europe where all flights from India arrive and then fly to various destinations in North America, including Toronto.

The Toronto Star says that the Jet staff in Brussels was unsure of the passport of one Indian passenger when he landed in Brussels. They called a specialist who said the passport was genuine but the Canadian immigration staff in Toronto found it to be forged.

Anybody arriving in Canada on forged documents can claim refugee status and can stay in the country till his/her case is settled by the Immigration Refugee Board.

The report in the Canadian daily explains how 'in most cases, a person with an extensive international travel history applied for and received a legitimate Canadian visa. The photo page of their Indian passport was then replaced with a doctored one and used by a different person.'

The report explains that 'legitimate Indian passports feature a line in micro printing that reads 'Indian Passport Control' across the photo page.

'On some of the doctored passports the line was little more than a smudge,' the report said.

Many of these passengers with fake travel documents reportedly make reservations on the Internet at one of the hotels near the Pearson airport in Toronto. They carry with them a print out of the confirmed hotel reservation as a proof of their local address.

'The only credit card information investigators have for those who booked the sham hotel rooms in Canada is the last four digits of a credit card number,' the report says. And the hotel chains were unwilling to cooperate with the authorities' request for help citing privacy legislation.

'Canadian authorities are (now) considering adding biometric information to visas in an effort to head off attempts by fraudsters,' the report adds.





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