On April 7, a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) constable, Bhim Sen, found an unclaimed bag at the domestic terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The bag contained Rs 25 lakh cash, an expensive mobile and some other valuables. He traced the owner and returned it back to him.
On April 3, a mobile was found lying near the domestic terminal by another CISF constable. He traced the owner, a Khirki resident, by calling up numbers from the phone book and the mobile was returned.
In March, a passenger left his laptop in the terminal and took another passenger’s laptop by mistake and boarded his aircraft. The CISF traced the passenger and he was called back from the aircraft to exchange the laptop.
For the CISF, which is in charge of IGI airport's security, finding unclaimed baggage and objects is a routine affair. Each unclaimed object is looked upon with suspicion and a security drill is followed, after which the CISF tries to find its owner and return the baggage.
In just the last three months, the CISF has found unclaimed baggage worth Rs 1.25 crore at the IGI Airport. It managed to find the owners immediately in some cases and valuable worth Rs 75 lakh has been returned. Other baggage is deposited with the airport manager's office, which can be retrieved by the owner at any time. In 2006, unclaimed baggage worth Rs 4 crore was found, out of which items worth Rs 75 lakh was immediately returned.
"assengers leave behind a lot of objects and each one of these is suspect to us. We carry out a bomb detection drill for all such objects," said JB Kaushik, Senior Commandant, CISF. "However, no drill is carried out for baggage which has already cleared the security zone," he said.
As soon as the baggage is declared safe, CISF personnel start finding clues about the owner's identity. "Announcements are made and we try our best to return the baggage to its rightful owner," Kaushik said.
Passengers also have a tendency to lose their mobile phones easily — the CISF has found 1,000 unclaimed mobiles in the last three months. Apart from lost mobiles, sometimes passengers raise false alarm about losing their mobiles or baggage.
"Thrice in March, we found that passengers had kept their mobiles inside bags and forgotten about it. When we dialed the phone number, the mobile started ringing inside their bags," he said. "Sometimes people forget their luggage at home and complain that they have lost it at the airport."