Air traveller loses luggage, crooks find his debit cards

Feb 07, 2012, 07:13 IST | Shiva Devnath and Bipin Kumar Singh

After his baggage went missing following a Kolkata-Mumbai flight, the Malad resident was looted of about Rs 18,000 by the accused who made several transactions in Lokhandwala with his debit cards

If Malad resident Kamrup Saha thought the airline losing his baggage was an annoyance then what happened next was a mini catastrophe. The 32-year-old boarded the evening Kingfisher flight IT 514 from Kolkata on Thursday and landed at Mumbai airport about 11.30 pm.

Lost, not found: Kamrup Saha, with a copy of the FIR

Like the other passengers, he then headed for the conveyor belt to collect his baggage. He waited and waited, but his belongings never arrived. Saha then went to the airline counter and apprised them of the matter.
"They gave me a report on which it was mentioned that my luggage had not been delivered to me and it would be dispatched to my residence at the earliest. I also mentioned the items inside the baggage including my debit cards," Saha told MiD DAY.  

Card tricks
Saha then headed home with the hope that his luggage would reach him shortly. The next day, three SMSes arrived within minutes of each other that startled him.

They were about transactions made with a debit card that was inside one of his missing bags. "I received the first SMS at 12.06 pm on Feb 3, when my card was swiped at a Lokhandwala-based beauty salon for Rs 1,506.
I was shocked. How could anyone use my card when it was locked inside the undelivered bag? After a few minutes I received the second SMS when my card was swiped for Rs 2,195, this time at a Lokhandwala-based shoe store. This was followed by a message about my card being used for Rs 9,443 at a jewellery shop in the same area," he added.

An amount of Rs 5,000 was also withdrawn by the miscreants, in cash, using another debit card as the document with the personal identification number (PIN) was also inside the bag.

Shopping spree
Saha then immediately blocked his cards and reported the matter to the airport police station on the evening of February 3. After registering the complaint, police officials went to all the places at which the cards had been used and it was revealed that a lady named Reshma Khan had allegedly used at least one of the debit cards.

"We visited all three places where the card was used. We got concrete details from the jewellery store where the owner confirmed that a woman named Reshma Khan purchased a gold ring with the card. She gave
the address of a house in Andheri (West) along with two cellphone numbers. All these were found to be bogus during our probe. We have also collected CCTV recordings from different locations and are studying them. It is quite possible that the woman gave a fictitious name. It also seems likely that more than one person, or even an organised syndicate, is involved," said an airport police official, requesting anonymity.

Cops say they are also investigating the possible role of airline ground handling staff in the case.

"We often hear about a racket where ground handling staff are said to be involved in such things. We are probing this aspect and as of now we cannot rule  anything out," added the official.

A case has been registered against Reshma Khan under Sections 380, 420 and 403 of the Indian Penal Code.

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