An internal enquiry has been initiated after a 49-year-old Bolivian national died on Friday night, hours after he was detained by Customs officials at IGI Airport. Customs officials have maintained that he died of a cardiac arrest.
According to sources, Customs officials received inputs that Bolivian national Salmon Edgar Vala Aranbal would be arriving in an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, allegedly carrying drugs.
“Acting on this information, a Customs team was informed and they intercepted him around 8.20 am at T3. Officials called a translator and conducted a check. However, they did not find anything suspicious, and took him to a Delhi court after serving him a notice under Section 102 of the Customs Act,” a source said, adding that it was the first time Salmon had come to India.
“Officials moved an application to conduct his medical examination, including X-ray and CT scan, at RML Hospital. An X-ray of the abdomen and chest was conducted, but they still couldn’t find anything. The medical report also opined that there were no fresh injuries on him,” a senior Customs official claimed.
Sources said that as officials were taking him back to the airport to hand over his belongings, he complained of uneasiness. “Officials took him to the Medanta Medical Centre at the Delhi airport, and he was admitted at 8.44 pm. He died at 10.11 pm and police were informed,” DCP (Airport) Sanjay Bhatia said. “The doctor opined death due to cardiac pulmonary arrest. An application was moved before the chief metropolitan magistrate, who ordered inquest proceedings,” he said.
A senior Customs department official said the body has been preserved at Safdarjung Hospital for post-mortem. “Delhi Police have approached the Embassy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in Vasant Vihar, requesting that the family be alerted. Customs officials have told police that it is a case of natural death,” he said.