Two Customs officers and a constable were suspended on Tuesday for allegedly harassing a South Korean man and taking $400 as bribe from him at Mumbai airport’s T2 on March 2. Also, CCTV showed the accused letting three passengers with dutiable objects go without charging any duty.
On March 2, when the South Korean passenger arrived at the airport he was stopped by preventive officer Dinesh Kumar Meena and constable LR Pawar, who took the foreigner to an interrogation room and allegedly harassed him. Later, the CCTV footage showed another preventive officer Saurav Paul interact with Meena.
The foreigner filed a complaint on March 4 through a Mumbai-based company he was doing business with. A Customs official said, “The CCTV footage reviewed by the Airport Vigilance Section showed the officers conversing with the passenger. The foreigner said the accused officers asked him to shell out $400 even when he had nothing objectionable in his luggage. The CCTV showed the accused checking the complainant’s wallet and sending him to an ATM at the terminal to withdraw cash.”
Sources said the accused would remain suspended till the investigation is completed. “The probe will be done and a charge sheet will be filed. We are also trying to find why the complaint wasn’t lodged immediately after the incident,” said an officer.
“With more domestic airlines moving operations to T2 and officers being accused of such offences, sharper scrutiny is required with better detection of smuggled goods,” said Sujay Kantawala, a senior advocate.