Golden Temple sarai: Despite plaint, devotees still being duped by fake web portals on pretext of booking rooms : The Tribune India

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Golden Temple sarai: Despite plaint, devotees still being duped by fake web portals on pretext of booking rooms

www.sgpcsarai.com is official website for room booking at Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib’s complex

Golden Temple sarai: Despite plaint, devotees still being duped by fake web portals on pretext of booking rooms

A view of Saragarhi Inn near Golden Temple in Amritsar on Tuesday. tribune photo: vishal kumar



Tribune News Service

GS PAUL

Amritsar, June 18

Over 10 days on since a complaint was lodged with the Amritsar police, there is still no breakthrough to curb the fake web portals through which the devotees visiting the Golden Temple continued to be fleeced on the pretext of booking their accommodation at SGPC-run Saragarhi Inn in Amritsar.

SGPC guidelines for pilgrims

  • www.sgpcsarai.com is official website for room booking at Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib’s complex. Room booking should be done from this website only
  • Payment should not be made through any mobile number/QR Code or online transaction from any other platform
  • 50% advance payment for room booking at Saragarhi Niwas or other sarais (inn) is not demanded
  • Beware of online frauds; no separate payment is taken for room booking through any individual or online mode

Sikh body helpless

The bank account of swindlers has now been frozen after we approached the bank. Yet, the culprits are out of reach. We can only feel sorry for the devotees who book from this fake portal.— Gurpreet Singh, SGPC Sarai manager

Ironically, the fake web link saragarhisaraihotel.com is still active offering ‘3 star accommodation’ with ‘non-AC rooms’ between Rs 850 - Rs 3,250; AC rooms between Rs 1,150 - Rs 4,250 and family classic rooms’ with fake interior pictures. Through the bogus portal, they would ask for the payment via online wallet/QR code in advance. As soon as the payment is made, their phone numbers become defunct.

To woo the devotees, images of the Golden Temple and the exact exterior pictures of ‘Saragarhi Niwas’ sarai being run by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was prominently displayed.

The swindlers, in their introductory stanza have also written ‘Waheguru’ in Punjabi alongside the Sikh symbol ‘khanda’.

While the police is still clueless, SGPC’s IT team investigated on its own, only to discover that the bank details pertained to somewhere near Ayodhya in UP.

SGPC sarai manager Gurpreet Singh said that the complaint was lodged with the police on June 6 after we came across over 10 such cases, but in vain.

“The bank account under the name of ‘Saragarhi Sarai’ has now been frozen after we approached the concerned bank. Yet, the culprits were still out of reach. We can only feel sorry for the outstation devotees who come to us with the screenshot of this fake portal claiming their advance booking in the sarai. The location of their office mentioned on the portal as Amritsar too never existed,” he said.

Their modus operandi is that the ‘book your room’ link on the website was made out of use, yet a mobile number has been mentioned. As one dials the given number, they would never pick up but respond only through another WhatsApp number.

“They call back or chat from another number on WhatsApp and provide the QR code or online payment link only to usurp money,” he said.

Amritsar Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Alam Vijay Singh could only say that the bank account has been freezed, and investigation is on.

Karan, a US-settled devotee hailing from Nasik, reached Saragarhi Inn with his father only to be bewildered to know that he fell prey to online accommodation booking scam. “I got the booking done at the airport only for our convenience, little knowing that we fell into the net of scam losing money,” he said.

Another devotee from Jammu said that she also fell victim to this fake website and lost Rs 2,200. “How could a normal person know which was the genuine website? As a citizen, I can only complain on the cyber cell helpline but expecting little outcome,” she said.

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#Darbar Sahib Amritsar #Golden Temple Amritsar #Sikhs


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