The arrest of a tea vendor and taxi driver three days ago for stealing a passenger’s bag at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has raised concerns over the presence of unauthorised individuals outside the terminals, who have easy access to the multi-level parking lot where the crime was committed. The bag contained cash and valuables worth nearly Rs 40,000 and some American currency, the police said, adding that it has been recovered from the possession of the suspect.
According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the suspect took advantage of the fact that the bag was placed behind a pillar and not visible to security cameras.
The CISF said the incident took place on Tuesday, when a couple came to the airport to receive their daughter, who had arrived in the city from Dubai at 5 am. The Mahalaxmi-based family had parked its car on the second floor of the GVK-operated parking lot at the (CSIA).
“The family loaded the luggage into a trolley and took it to the parking lot. Once there, however, they left behind the girl’s bag, which contained two Apple iPads, an iPhone, $460, Rs 5,000 in Indian currency, her passport and clothes. They only realised what they had forgotten when they reached home. Immediately, they went back to the airport,” said Ravindra Patil, senior inspector, Sahar police station.
When the family went back to where they had left the bag, they found it missing, said the police. They informed the airport manager, who in turn directed her to the CISF.
“We first scanned CCTV footage of the parking lot and saw a man lurking around there. He was seen at the parking lot when the family was the loading the luggage and also after it left. He was then seen standing at the pillar where the family had left the bag,” said a CISF officer.
The officer said that the tea vendor, Sarvant Yadav (45), was well aware of the presence of CCTV cameras and did not pick up the bag. Instead, he approached his friend, Santoshkumar Singh (35), a taxi driver, and persuaded him to drive into the parking lot and grab the bag.
The CCTV footage from the parking lot shows the taxi stopping for a few seconds behind the pillar and then moving ahead, said the officer.
“Based on suspicion, we picked up Yadav for questioning. Under interrogation, he confessed to have committed the crime and led us to Singh, who had taken the bag home. The bag has been recovered,” said the officer. Both Yadav and Singh have been charged under several sections of the IPC and remanded to police custody for three days.