Hyderabad: Airport staff hand-in-glove with yellow metal smugglers

Customs officials caught flight stewards for helping gold smugglers.

Hyderabad: Smugglers are now offering hefty commissions to airport staff to help them bring smuggled gold consignments out of the airports. The staff includes those in ground handling operations and private security personnel who have access to the airport and aircraft.

Last month, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) caught a helper with a ground handling unit of Indigo Airlines on charges of aiding smugglers bring 1.6 kg of gold outside the airport. The helper was not on duty at that time, but had access to the airport. A few months ago, officials caught two helpers of a private company engaged with airport handling duties for aiding gold smugglers. In previous cases, Customs officials caught flight stewards for helping gold smugglers.

An internal audit conducted by the Customs department found that some ground staff and airline employees were playing a key role in aiding smuggling. Following this, Customs officials held a meeting with private agencies involved in ground handling duties and asked them to be careful while recruiting employees and while assigning duties.

A Customs official said, that the ground staff is well versed with all the entry and exit points of the airport. They are not usually suspected or frisked when they leave the airport. “Using their unregulated access as an advantage the ground staff can easily get lured and aid the smugglers,” pointed out the official.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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