KOCHI: The frequent security lapses at the Nedumbassery airport have raised serious question on the effectiveness of the airport security apparatus and the functioning of various security agencies at the CIAL.
The arrest of 12 ground handling staff of a private agency, Bird Worldwide Flight Services, in the airport in connection with the gold smuggling reveals the gravity of the chinks in security apparatus of airport which has registered a record footfall of 64.5 lakhs passengers in 2014-15, making it the first busiest terminal in the state and fourth at the national-level in terms of international traffic volume.
The rising gold smuggling cases have always been a concern for security agencies in the state. However, the arrests and the preceding admission of Customs officials that there was trust deficit and administrative ego between various agencies showed the level of lack of coordination between the elite forces in the airport.
Speaking to ‘Express,’ the Special Intelligence and Investigation officials said: “we fear the disclosure that the arrested were instrumental in transporting over 200 kg of gold out of the airport is only a tip of the iceberg.”
There is bigger conspiracy right from the recruitment of ground handling staff to the private agency to the role of the officials who are under the scanner. They fear that similar rackets may be operational, especially in Calicut, where 102.49 kg and 82.50 kg of gold were seized,” they said.
CIAL airport director ACK Nair told Express: “We have beefed up security and directed the private agencies to be mindful and be alert while recruiting staff. In case of fresh incidents, we will hold these agencies responsible for smuggling, he said. We have sorted out the issues pertaining to the coordination between Customs and CISF in the airport to check such cases,” he added.