By Gurbir Singh:
American dreams of Jayesh Patel, 32, who disguised himself as an 81-year-old man, Amrik Singh by getting his hair and beard dyed grey, came crashing down when he was arrested at the Delhi airport on Sunday, 8 September.
At the New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, Patel managed to successfully clear both the initial security screening and the immigration counter using a fake passport, but genuine visa. Riding in a wheelchair, he made it all the way to Terminal 3 to board a flight to New York City before being intercepted and arrested.
Patel a resident of Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India) had gone to great lengths to fly to the US where he was hoping to find a job and a better life. His dream however, crashed when his soft, young skin of hands and some black hair visible under his grey gave him away.
“He was planning to go to the US for a job. But his profile was such that he would not have gotten a visa easily. With a fake name – Amrik Singh, a fake address, he managed to get a passport and a US visa,” a senior police officer, Sanjay Bhatia told NDTV.
His modus operandi was to pay a hefty sum to a make-up artist who made Patel look older and helped him impersonate as a senior citizen. Thick glasses and a white turban completed the look.
“His beard was grown and hair was dyed grey. He was made to wear a pair of thick glasses and a turban. He was also instructed to walk like an elderly person,” the officer said.
According to another Central Industrial Security Force(CISF) officer, Hemendra Singh there were some signs “Amrik Singh,” whose passport said he was 81, wasn’t who he claimed to be.
“(We were) suspicious about him as his voice didn’t match his age,” he told a news agency IANS. “Despite (his) grey hair, his skin seemed to be quite young, as there were hardly any wrinkles on his face.”
According to CISF, Patel avoided eye contact with officers and refused to get up from his chair. When they put him through a more intensive screening, his true identity was uncovered.
Patel reportedly confessed and told authorities that a man named Bharat promised him that he could get him to the US for IRS 30 lakhs (nearly NZ$65,000) to be paid when Patel reached New York.
Bharat and the make-up artist who applied the extensive disguise are being sought by police.