Seven people were arrested for allegedly stealing valuables from passengers’ bags at the IGI Airport in Delhi and recovered several items, including luxury watches, police said on Saturday.
The accused have been identified as Manoj Kumar, Hari Darshan, Balwinder, Praveen Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Subodh and Satish Kumar Verma, they said.
Gold jewellery, currency of five countries, two Apple AirPods, a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses and two luxury watches — a Rado and a De Grisogono — were recovered from the accused.
The case stems from a complaint registered at IGI Airport police station by Punjab native Paramjeet Kaur.
Paramjeet Kaur said she arrived in Delhi from Melbourne on September 16 and was to take a connecting flight to Amritsar, a senior police officer said.
Before boarding her flight to Amritsar, when her baggage was found to be overweight, she opened her bags and adjusted the articles. However, when she reached home, she found the gold items in her bags missing, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Devesh Kumar Mahla said.
During investigation, the police scanned footage from CCTV cameras and interrogated the loaders working that shift.
A video sent by Hari Darshan was found in Manoj Kumar’s mobile phone in which he can be heard saying “this jewellery is fake, nobody will get anything for this”, Devesh Mahla said.
Following this development, Manoj Kumar and Hari Darshan admitted to stealing the gold jewellery and selling it to a jeweller. They also admitted to stealing several items from the bags of other passengers. They claimed that staff of different airlines helped them steal the articles. Later, the police arrested five more people in this connection, the officer said.
The police have found that the airlines are not following the periodic guidelines issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and letters from the Delhi Police, he said.
Investigations revealed that some higher officials of the airline concerned connived with the accused and their roles are also under the scanner. Officials of the airline are also being interrogated, the police said.
The accused managed the airline’s security officer to give them a wide berth while they loaded and unloaded baggage from aircraft, the police said.
They roped in the duty officer, whose job was to assign duties to the loaders, to deploy the accused only in the holding area, they said.
Investigation is underway to get a clearer picture about their complete involvement. As a result, no one from the airline has been arrested yet, the police said.
Manoj Kumar, the kingpin of the gang, specialised in identifying bags that might contain valuables. Hari Darshan and Balwinder were loaders and they used to dispose of the jewellery. Praveen Kumar, another loader, diverted the attention of officials during search-and-frisk, the police said.
Sanjeev Kumar and Subodh, both loaders, handed the baggage over slowly for loading and unloading. Satish Kumar Verma is the jeweller who purchased the stolen jewellery from the accused, they said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)