Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vidarbha youths’ flying dream crashes in Manila

NAGPUR: The dreams of two youngsters from Vidarbha to achieve a high-flying career as commercial pilot crash landed after they walked into the trap of a racket operating from Philippine capital Manila. The victims, who were trapped in Manila for one-and-half months, claimed that the Indian embassy in Manila did not do much when they sought help. 

 Sachin Dhomne, Ritesh Belekar and one of their friends were duped to the tune of around Rs 30 lakh by Mrigendersingh Sengar and his accomplice Bhavesh Chavan on the pretext of providing training as commercial pilots in their Aviation Link Asia training centre in Manila. Dhomne said he was son of a government employee and had arranged Rs 9 lakhs through bank loans that he was now struggling to repay. Belekar's father is a railway employee, it is learnt. Police sources claimed Chavan was a son of a senior Income Tax officer.

While Chavan claimed he was a flight instructor of the Manila-based flight training institute, Sengar was named as chief executive officer of the organization. The culprits allegedly cheated Dhomne and Belekar with the promise to get them trained as pilots despite the fact that their institute had been long barred from operations by Philippines' aircraft training and organization department.

Dhomne and Belekar were colleagues working with a private airline that had its office at Nagpur airport. They were introduced to Chavan through a common friend last year. Chavan, settled in Manila, had come to Nagpur to spend time with his family at Vir Chakra colony in Gittikhadan. Chavan promised placements after successful training at the centre.

Following some initial payments, Chavan sent return tickets and commercial visa to Dhomne and Belekar for coming to Manila. Dhomne and Belekar flew to Manila in September last year. The duo was kept in an apartment but was advised against leaving the room on flimsy grounds. "We were taken aback after seeing a place near domestic airport of Manila that Chavan and Sengar claimed to be their institute. There were no students apart from us. We were told other students had gone elsewhere for training," said Dhomne. "Sengar and Chavan also tried to entice us with commission stating that they would give us monetary benefits if we arranged for more students but the entire setup seemed fake," he said.

Later the local authorities declined to allow Dhomne and Belekar to appear for a mandatory test meant for the pilots on technical grounds. "At this point, we approached the local civil aviation department and realized were duped," said Dhomne.

Fearing repercussions, Dhomne and Belekar approached the local Indian Embassy for help but were disappointed. "We were told they would revert to us within a week," said Dhomne. Having little hope of help, the duo is learnt to have managed to sneak out of the apartment and headed to the airport from where they boarded a flight to India.

In Nagpur, the duo approached the city police. Joint commissioner of police Sanjay Saxena transferred their case to economic offence wing of crime branch which has now begun a probe after registering the offence at Gittikhadan police station against Sengar and Chavan.

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