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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Proposal for metal detectors at airport gathering dust

Manish Pachouly, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 13, 2013
First Published: 01:18 IST(13/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:19 IST(13/3/2013)

The discovery of gold biscuits in the rectum of a Sri Lankan national on Monday has once again highlighted the high security risk at airports in the absence of doorframe metal detectors and body scanners that can spot metals as well as explosives and drugs.

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Currently, the Customs have doorframe metal detectors in the departure area but no body scanners, sources in the department said.

They said a proposal for six doorframe metal detectors for the six green channel exit points at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has been gathering dust for more than three years.

“The proposal is sent to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) every month, but there is no action so far,” said an officer requesting anonymity.

At present, for body concealment, Customs officials depend on intelligence inputs, passenger profiling and observation of passengers coming from countries that are on the sensitive category list to detect contraband.

“We have borrowed two doorframe metal detectors from Mumbai International Airport Pvt Limited (MIAL) that are kept at two exits. But, we don’t have any of our own,” the official said.

He said these detectors only served the purpose when the two green channel exits were used.

“For others, we don’t have any such detectors,” the official said.

In the recent case on Monday, Mumbai Customs’ Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials found the five gold biscuits in Abdul Rehman Jaljahan’s rectum only because they thought his movements were suspicious and because of passenger profiling.

“Had there been a doorframe metal detector, it would have beeped the moment he entered the green channel area,” the officer said.

When contacted, commissioner of Customs, airport, PM Saleem, said the Customs was in the process of procuring its own doorframe metal detectors.”


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