A suspect was taken into custody Monday over 168 fake tickets issued to several people who paid a local group to perform the Umra pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The suspect was an employee of a small travel agent called DB Travels, who was paid MVR1.6 million (US$103,761) for the tickets by the Samha Group International, which in turn was enlisted by the Askoi Hajj and Umra Group, police explained in a statement.
The suspect, whose identity was not disclosed, was arrested at the Gan airport in Addu City before he was due to fly overseas, police said.
The fake tickets were reportedly issued to 168 out of 216 people who paid the Askoi Group. The tickets were discovered to be fake when 50 pilgrims were unable to travel to Mecca as planned this week.
On Tuesday, an official from the Hajj and Umra group told Mihaaru that the company has now arranged tickets for the 50 pilgrims. It was also working towards arranging the travel of the other 118 victims of the fake tickets scam.
Photo of pilgrims outside police headquarters by Raajje.mv