Minors hoodwinked airport security, stole cables for 3 yrs

They are live wires, in more than one sense — three minors and three other youth were held by Sahar police recently for trespassing into Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and swiping galvanised cables. What’s a point of interest and a cause of concern is the fact that the offenders had tasted frequent success with their modus operandi since embarking on this route in 2009. 

Graphic/Amit Bandre

Cops say the first breakthrough came in November, and since then they have also arrested three scrap dealers who were a part of the crooked syndicate.

The minors would enter through the opening of the canal near Jarimari and sneak into the airport premises. Pic/Nimesh Dave

According to Sahar police officials, in the last week of October, airport security personnel raised an alarm after they realised that a huge chunk of galvanised cables that covered a large pit close to the main runway was missing. Local police was alerted and the crime branch too swung into action. In November, Sahar police arrested Ekhlak Khan (19), Abdulla Khan (19), Irfan Sheikh (20), and three minors (names withheld).

The gang had built a bamboo scaffolding to reach the access point to the airport so they could cut and steal the cables

On questioning, the accused opened up and gave the names of two scrap dealers who had been buying the stolen cables from them. Subsequently, Motilal Jain (31), Roshanlal Jain (40) and Bhurelal Jain (40), all based in Sakinaka, were also arrested.

Senior inspector Jay Prakash Giram of Sahar police station said, “We have recovered cables, which are worth nearly Rs 60,000. Further investigations are on.”

The three adults have been booked under section 379 of IPC, while the minors have been sent to Dongri Remand Home. The scrap dealers have been charged under section 411 of IPC.

Sources said it is surprising that despite such a serious security lapse, no heads have rolled. Also, measures are yet to be taken to block the passage, which provides easy access to the runway and is a major security threat. The CISF control room did not respond to our calls.

Modus operandi
Further investigations revealed that the accused had in 2009 hatched a month-long plan to purloin the cables. “Below the runway there is a canal for Mithi River, which runs from Jarimari in Sakinaka and ends at Kalina-Santacruz. Two openings for the canals adjacent to the runway are covered by 20-mm-thick galvanised cables. The accused, who used to enter from the Jarimari side, had built a bamboo scaffolding to reach the opening so they could cut and steal the cables,” said a police inspector from Sahar on condition of anonymity.

Did you know?
CSIA handled 30.74 million passengers and 656,369 tonnes of cargo in 2011-12. The airport is South Asia’s second busiest in terms of passenger traffic and the busiest in India in terms of international passenger traffic. CSIA can officially handle 36 flights per hour and intends to increase this to 48. 

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