A foreign student’s act of allegedly lifting a ‘seemingly lost’ bag from a service counter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) had the potential to spell disaster for international diplomacy. The incident took place last month.
However, for the Nepali student, pursuing engineering from a private university at Newai in Rajasthan, a telephonic conversation initiated several hundred kilometres away, did the trick. Especially because the black bag, which CCTV cameras caught him lifting from the FRRO counter at IGIA on October 25, belonged to an Information Bureau (IB) inspector.
“He was among a group of six Nepali students, travelling to Kathmandu on a connecting SpiceJet flight from Jaipur on October 25. Around 1pm while he was filling a document at the FRRO counter, he saw a bag on a table and lifted it,” said a senior IB official, who did not want to be named.
The bag, which belonged to the counter in-charge who was busy guiding passengers with the paperwork, contained certain sensitive documents.
“The officer discovered the theft of the bag, which contained papers related to an internal department enquiry, immediately after the flight to Kathmandu took off. The student had no clue what he had gotten into,” the officer said.
The officer zeroed-in on the group of Nepali students on the footage of his counter. “The details about the group of passengers were ascertained and confirmed from the university in Rajasthan. We, then, contacted the student and asked him to return the bag,” he said.
On October 29, after the IB sent a written request to the airport authorities in Kathmandu and authorised the same carrier to return it, the bag —untouched and non-pilfered, landed in Delhi.
“When we asked him why he lifted the bag, he said ‘I didn’t know it was yours’,” he said. Thanks to his compliance and good humour, no case was filed.