The police arrested a man at a Delhi airport Monday who they say dressed up as a pilot and tried to use his status to get preferential treatment like free upgrades.
Officers say Rajan Mahbubani tried to pass himself off as a Lufthansa pilot while getting on an AirAsia flight from Delhi to Kolkata.
The police said Mahbubani had also previously impersonated an army colonel.
The police arrested a man at an airport in New Delhi on Monday who they accused of dressing up as an airline pilot in an attempt to get preferential treatment.
Rajan Mahbubani was detained while attempting to board an AirAsia flight at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to a report from CNN.
He was dressed in the uniform of a pilot for Germany’s flag carrier airline, Lufthansa.
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According to CNN, Mahbubani told authorities he had frequently dressed up as a pilot to secure perks like upgraded seats and access to crew-only lines at security and passport control.
Mahbubani even had a fake Lufthansa pilots ID, the police said.
Staff from the AirAsia flight he was trying to board, however, called Lufthansa to confirm his identity. He was arrested at the gate before getting on the flight to Kolkata.
Screenshot/Times of India
According to The Daily Telegraph, the police accused Mahbubani of impersonating various uniformed professions in the past.
The outlet quoted a Delhi airport police official named Sanjay Bhatia, who said Mahbubani had also posted videos on TikTok wearing different uniforms.
“He had traveled on various occasions using the same modus operandi,” Bhatia said. “The travel history of the passenger is being scanned.”
Mahbubani’s case has been compared to a less successful version of the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” which told the story of Frank Abagnale, who conned people out of millions of dollars in the 1960s using various disguises including that of a pilot.
The Telegraph said the police also found pictures on Mahbubani’s phone of him dressed as an army colonel.
An official for AirAsia acknowledged the arrest, saying in a statement reported by The Times of India: “He was handed over to the airport police and an investigation has been ordered.”
The incident is the second involving elaborate disguises to emerge from Delhi in recent months. In September, 32-year-old Jayesh Patel was arrested after authorities said he dressed up as an old man, including dying his hair white, to try to get on a plane to the US.
Patel tried to board a flight to New York using a passport with the fake name of Amrik Singh, an 81-year-old born in Delhi in February 1938, the Central Industrial Security Force said.