An Indian man dressed up as a white-haired, wheelchair-bound senior in his 80s to try to sneak onto a flight to New York City, according to authorities.
Jayesh Patel, 32, wheeled his way into Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday, refusing to be frisked because he claimed to be too frail to stand, according to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
He presented a passport with the name Amrik Singh and a January 1938 birthdate — which would make him 81.
But security at the Delhi airport grew instantly suspicious because Singh refused to make eye contact — and, even with his hair and beard dyed white, he clearly did not match the age on his fake ID, according to local reports.
“CISF was suspicious about him as his voice didn’t match his age. Despite grey hair, his skin seemed to be quite young as there were hardly any wrinkles on his face,” the spokesperson told NDTV.
He was also wearing non-prescription, “zero-power glasses to conceal his age,” a senior officer told India TV News.
Patel allegedly confessed that he wanted to find a job in the US but had trouble getting a visa — instead agreeing to pay a middle-man almost $42,000 to get him to New York, according to NDTV.
As well as the fake passport, the deal included a makeup artist who applied his disguise before he headed to the airport, the station said.
“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,” senior police officer Sanjay Bhatia told NDTV, without giving details of what in his past stopped him getting approved.
“With a fake name, a fake address, he managed to get a passport and a US visa.”
Patel was arrested and is being investigated by immigration officials, according to the reports. Others involved in the alleged plot have yet to be arrested.
“We’ve never seen a similar case at the Delhi airport before,” Bhatia said.