The Indira Gandhi International Airport unit of the Delhi Police arrested seven porters for their alleged involvement in cases of theft, including expensive gadgets and precious jewellery, from passengers’ luggage, officials said on Saturday.
Police recovered gold jewelry, two expensive watches, two Apple AirPods, a pair of sunglasses and some foreign currency.
Those arrested were employees of a private service provider, AISATS, which handles passengers for several airlines, IGI airport police said. AISATS is a joint venture between Air India Limited, part of the TATA Group, and SATS Limited.
Both Air India and SATS declined to comment on HT’s queries in the case.
Police said investigation into the theft cases and interrogation of the arrested shippers also revealed that the airlines served by the private company were not following the guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Security Bureau and the notices issued by the Police. Delhi on matters related to search and handling. of passengers’ luggage, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Devesh Kumar Mahla.
“It has been discovered that some officials of the airline companies and the passenger assistance company also collaborate with thieves at the airport. There have been similar police actions against porters for different airlines. The role of some airline officials is being investigated. To curb thefts in airlines, officials responsible for the crimes are questioned and charged in the cases,” DCP Mahla said.
The arrest of the seven porters followed the investigation of a theft case registered on September 29 following a complaint by Paramjeet Kaur (age not available), a resident of Punjab who had arrived in Delhi from Melbourne on Singapore Airlines and then flew to Amritsar from Delhi. airport on September 16.
“While boarding for Amritsar, his luggage was found to be overweight, so he opened his suitcases and adjusted the items. All this time, her wheelchair attendant that she had hired was watching her. When she arrived home, she discovered that her gold valuables were missing from her purse that she had kept in her check-in luggage. She lodged a complaint and a case was registered,” DCP Mahla said.
Those arrested were identified as Manoj Kumar, Hari Darshan, Praveen Kumar, Balwinder (single name), Sanjeev Kumar, Subodh Sahni and Satish Kumar Verma.
“These porters used to ask the airline security officer to give them ample space while loading and unloading luggage from the plane. They also managed to be assigned tasks only in the detention area,” he added.
IGI airport police said they were also investigating the role of shippers and officials of the same handling company in another case of theft of a luxury watch valued at $4.68 lakh belonging to a Goan resident who traveled from Delhi to his hometown on a flight on August 16.