Is the new T2 aiding smugglers evade customs?
According to airport officials, the increase in number of exit points at the arrivals terminal on every floor, is making it easy for smugglers to escape scrutiny
While passengers seem to be enjoying the swanky Terminal 2 (T2) airport, few custom officers believe that the new design of the airport is making it easy for smugglers to dodge them. Every floor has three exit points, as compared to the old T2 that had one, making it easy for smugglers to flee, according to some officials.
Problem of plenty: The newly-constructed terminal has three exit points on every floor for arrivals, as compared to the old terminal, which had just one. File pic
Case in point was the interception of a Danish national, Koobenhavn Kommune, on April 2. He was caught smuggling in three gold biscuits, weighing one kg each.
During the investigation, it was found that Kommune had already made five Mumbai-Dubai trips in the last one week, every time smuggling three kgs of gold with him. “While the exit points are manned, passengers are not frisked as they are leaving, and it becomes easy for smugglers,” said an official, on the condition of anonymity.
Speaking on the issue, the official spokesperson of Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL) said, “Some exit points are actually emergency exits designed for safety purposes, and we are liasing with the customs team to mitigate the issue.”
Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner, Customs, said, “We don’t check every individual, and inspection is done based on observation and suspicion. We have brought this issue to GVK’s notice from time to time and on our behalf, we are analysing the topography of the terminal. The airport itself is huge and exit points are not the issue.”