A Jet Airways crew member, who became the second from the airline to smuggle gold, got involved in the illegal activity in order to pay the EMI for his newly purchased home in Dombivali. Deepak Indramani Pandey, the 24-year-old crew member, who hails from Banaras was caught at the Mumbai airport on Thursday, while he was to about clear gold for a passenger, who approached him when the flight was airborne. Pandey who has been working in Jet Airways for the past four years, claimed he got involved in gold smuggling for the first time since his employment with the airline.
The accused Deepak Indramani Pandey with the smuggled gold
The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs in its night shift made seizure of 10 gold bars of 10 tolas each totally weighing 1160 grams. These gold bars valued at Rs.27,92,230 were recovered from Pandey who was one of the six-crew members who had arrived from Dubai by Jet Airways 9W 543 (that arrives Mumbai at 2.15am).
According to senior officials he was approached by a passenger during mid-flight and was offered the deal and cash after he would cleared the yellow metal. The passenger however remains untraced.
The crew member abandoned the gold on the sofa outside the Superintendent's room while being asked to come inside for personal search by officers. The gold was discovered later by a Sepoy and the footage was studied by officers and the crew member was seen dropping the gold and then asked to return to the airport where they were confronted with the gold and footage. He admitted the possession and carriage of the gold.
Speaking to mid-day, a Customs Official explained that Pandey was randomly stopped and checked and was let go after officers did not find anything suspicious. “After Pandey was let go, one of the sepoys noticed some gold bars lying on one of the sofas at the department. After the CCTV footage was checked, Jet Airways was immediately informed and was asked to get back all the crewmembers of the flight. Though initially every staffer was questioned Pandey later accepted that he was to clear them,” said the officer.
Jet Airways Spokesperson said, “The matter is under investigation and Jet Airways is fully cooperating with the investigation agencies. Jet Airways has zero tolerance towards any action of its employees that contravenes local or international laws prevalent in the countries of its operations. We take immediate disciplinary actions as per company policy after due investigation.”