Two Air India employees suspended on smuggling charges; probe ordered
Air India has suspended two employees on charges of sandalwood smuggling and ordered a probe into the case
Two Air India flight attendants from Mumbai, Milind Davane and Nidhin Korah, were arrested at IGI Airport by the Air Intelligence Wing of Customs for attempting to smuggle 56 kg sandalwood to Hong Kong on Sunday night.
The smuggling came to light when their baggage were passed through an X-ray machine following a tip off.
"We have suspended the two flight attendants, after they were caught smuggling sandalwood at the IGI Airport and an enquiry has also been initiated against them," an Air India spokesperson said.
Airline sources said strict disciplinary action might be taken against them if they were found guilty in the probe. The probe is also likely to go into possibility of a nexus between some of its employees and the smugglers.
According to airport sources, the two employees have told customs official that they got into smuggling to make a fast buck as they had not allegedly received their salaries for quite sometime.
Taking strong exception to their statements, the Spokesperson said, "They can't make such excuses to carry out illegal activities, it is not acceptable to us."
The airline has been paying salaries to its staff regularly for the past one year, he added. "All the staff has been paid salaries for the month of September this year and only salary due is for the month of October, which has still some days to go and that would be paid too," he said.
Davane and Korah have been working for the national carrier for the past seven years.
Airline official said they would be discussing the security check procedures with the CISF and the Customs to prevent such incidents in the future, as baggage of senior Air India pilots and flight attendants is not always checked rigorously.