Lose a phone at Indira Gandhi International Airport and many of us may give up hope of ever finding it. So it is natural that a Russian embassy official was pleasantly surprised when he got a call from airport about the recovery of his phone.
He was a victim of a theft racket which is thriving in the airport. The involvement of airport employees in the racket has been noted by the security agency.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) got a tip off that a ground staff had stolen a high-end phone from a flight that flew in from Moscow.
“After receiving a tip-off, intelligence unit staff rushed to the plane that was parked at the bay. The employee was found in the possession of a phone. During interrogation, he couldn’t give satisfactory answer and later confessed stealing the phone from a registered baggage,” said a senior CISF official, requesting anonymity.
After recovering the phone, CISF called up the owner and found that he is with Russian embassy and had arrived from Moscow.
“The accused has been handed over to the police, who has seized the phone and returned the SIM card to the owner. They might need it for further investigation,” the official added.
Recently, the security force had started issuing instructions to the airport staff to deposit their phone before entering the airport. Theft of valuables from checked-in baggage of air travellers have doubled in comparison with the past year. Against the 68 cases of theft in 2013, 58 cases have been registered this year till May 19, which is an alarming increase.
Earlier, the Delhi Police had also warned airlines of action if they were found complicit in cases of theft.
In most cases, passenger’s checked-in baggage was tampered with and costly items such as camera, jewellery, mobile and laptops were stolen.
Apart from pilferage in the registered baggage during loading, passengers complain of theft from areas such as baggage belt, lounge, washroom and even from the cargo terminal.
Police said airlines often hire contractual staff for loading baggage to the aircraft and such employees often pilferage items while loading the bag to the plane.