Mumbai: Security tightened at T2 to rein in gold smugglers

With the spate of recent interceptions in gold smuggling including one that involved a terminal manager CISF has increased number of security checks; random screenings, frisking of staff are also being conducted

Reacting to the increasing number of smuggling cases at the city international airport, especially after a deputy manager was caught last week, authorities from Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), Mumbai Customs and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have decided to meet to crack down on smugglers.

37-year-old Kanumetta Jagadish Babu, deputy manager (facility services) at the domestic terminal, admitted to have smuggled gold out of T2 eight times in the past
37-year-old Kanumetta Jagadish Babu, deputy manager (facility services) at the domestic terminal, admitted to have smuggled gold out of T2 eight times in the past

CISF has already introduced stringent measures on their part to rein in the culprits. Officials from these bodies have been meeting on this issue and one such meeting will also be held today. The new rules and regulations shall be put in place by airport authorities after the meet.

Airport officials say the involvement of insiders has raised an alarm particularly the case of Kanumetta Jagadish Babu, a deputy manager at the domestic terminal who was caught with 1,624 grams of gold worth Rs 39.5 lakh (‘GVK official nabbed while trying to smuggle out Rs 39 lakh gold’, December 6). As a result, these three agencies will soon be implementing more restrictions and frisking for the airport staff.

Close watch
To begin with, the CISF in Terminal 2 (T2) has increased the number of security checks an airport employee would have to undergo, in order to control such smuggling activities at level 1 and 3 of the international terminal. An airport official close to the development said, “There are two new Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMDs) that have been put up at both the exit points. Similarly, a DFMD has also been installed at Level 3, so metal on person of any staff member can be detected.”

He further added, “The CISF is also keeping an eye on staffers taking the airside route to travel between the three terminals.” The latter comes in the wake of Babu’s confession that he had planned to travel from T2 to the domestic terminal using the airside bus service. Babu had shocked officials by stating he had managed to ferry out illegal gold from T2 eight times in the past.

Random checks and frisking of airport staff will also be increased when they exit through the operational area (which includes gate number 1, 5, 6, and 8). A ground staff, on condition of anonymity, said screening and physical check of employee baggage has increased after Babu’s involvement came to the fore. After today’s meeting, Mumbai Customs and MIAL will decide on what extra layers they can introduce apart from the aforementioned CISF measures to crack down on smugglers.

According to sources, some suggestions that will be discussed include restricting movement on aerobridges, vacating non-essential office spaces on aerobridges, and having a locker facility for employees on the city side. Staff members are presently allowed to carry their bags inside.

Rs 45 lakh gold seized
On Sunday, Mohammed Khalandanesha Periyadukka Abdullah, a passenger who had arrived from Dubai via SpiceJet flight SG-014, was intercepted while handing over 16 gold bars of ten tolas each (weighing a total of 1,860 grams valued at Rs 45.05 lakh) to Aniket Oroskar (in pic), a technician working with a media firm.

The duo was caught near the bay toilet of T2. The passenger admitted to have done this six times in the past, while Oroskar turned out to be a veteran, having sneaked out gold 22 times from T2. Sources said Oroskar had made more than R10 lakh in these 22 days of consecutive smuggling.

Security checks for staff
> CISF has increased the number of security checks at T2 for airport employees 
> Two new Door Frame Metal Detectors have been added at level 1 and 3 of the international terminal
> CISF is checking staffers on the airside route of the terminal as well
> Random checks and frisking of airport staff will also be increased
> Authorities may provide lockers for staffers on the city side

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