A constable from Sahar police station was able to sneak in his service pistol into the Air Cargo Complex at three different entrances, despite the presence of metal detectors and security guards at the highly sensitive zone
Serious lapses in security at the Air Cargo Complex (ACC) were exposed when, in a dummy check conducted by Sahar police, a police official was able to sneak in a service pistol three times, through three different methods and gates.
The Air Cargo Complex, a part of Mumbai Customs, is responsible for handling of import and export of cargo. File pic
The checks have revealed that neither is the metal detector working properly, nor are the security agencies taking their job seriously. The complex, a part of Mumbai Customs, is responsible for handling of import and export of cargo from Mumbai via air.
The constable managed to sneak in the service pistol three times into the Air Cargo Complex at Sahar international airport. File pic
On September 30, Sachin Rokade, a constable attached with the Sahar police station, arrived at the ACC main gate (called wicked gate) at around 10 am. Rokade was in civil clothes and was carrying his service pistol on his person.
When he walked through the metal detector, the equipment didn’t beep to reveal the concealed weapon. Neither did the security guards of Tops Security, the agency who had stationed the officials there, frisk Rokade. The guards on duty were Laxmikant Kobre and Sathendar Taid.
Rokade then tested another entrance. He went to Heavy Gate 03 at around 11.05 am and handed over his pistol to a cargo loader. The constable was testing whether the weapon would be detected this time on a loader.
However, after checking the loader’s ID card and Cargo Entry Pass (CEP), he was allowed to pass. The main security official from SIS, the security agency, was not there on the spot and the weapon had sneaked in again.
In his third and final attempt, at around 11.15 am, Rokade gave his pistol to an employee of the cargo-handling companies at the terminal, at Gate 4. Here, too, the metal detector was not up to task and the SIS security guard failed to search the employee who was clearly breaking the rules.
Cause for concern
Ravindra Patil, senior police inspector at Sahar police station, confirmed the incident. “We were successful in conducting the dummy checks, in which it was found that the private security agency’s guards weren’t able to detect the service pistol possessed by one of our men,” he said.
With such lackadaisical security measures at the cargo complex, authorities definitely need to pull up their socks. A stun grenade was found recently on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s standby plane, during his visit to the city for election rallies.
“The stun grenade and two hoax bomb threats received at the airport have already lead to security concerns. There are various anti-hijacking mock drills being conducted at T1 and T2, and such loopholes in security only add to the worries,” confessed an official who works as ground staff at the airport.
Ramesh Iyer, vice-chairman & CEO (India), Tops Security Limited, said, “Following the recent incident at Mumbai international airport involving a Tops Security Limited officer, it is important to note that there has been no breach of security regarding the police officer in question.
The police officer is a regular and familiar face at the cargo complex, and thus no reactive/proactive security measure such as utilising the hand-held security devices to regular frisking was required in his case. Furthermore, the Tops officer who was on duty when the police officer arrived at the cargo complex has not been suspended but rotated.
As part of Tops Security Limited’s meticulous and award-winning training programme, it is common practice for our officers to be on rotation, working across various clients.” Authorities at SIS Security refused to comment on the matter.
Rs 7,910 crore
Customs revenue earned by Mumbai air cargo complex in the financial year 2012-13