Days after a Malayali NRI couple travelling by Qatar Airlines had alleged that valuables worth lakhs of rupees were stolen from their baggage at Nedumbassery airport, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has released an official statement dismissing the claims as false.
CIAL’s statement said that it had inspected CCTV visuals in the presence of the police and the complainants and found no evidence of the theft.
The couple had reportedly claimed to have lost 2 mobile phones, 3 bottles of alcohol, hand bags and other valuables that amounted to USD 3437 (roughly a little over Rs 2.2 lakh).
The CIAL statement points out that the couple had stopovers at Orlando, Florida, New York and Doha airports before coming to Kochi.
However, the US Transportation Security Agency requires certain specially-designed locks for locking bags. If passengers don’t have these locks in hand, the bags are meant to be loaded unlocked, the CIAL statement says. So, it claims that there is a high probability for the robbery to have taken place at any of the airports where the couple had stopovers.
CIAL also said that the entire baggage handling process is heavily monitored and it is not possible for any theft to go unrecorded. It said that a total of 3,600 CCTV cameras monitor the T3 International terminal. On the day of the incident, the statement added, CIAL checked all the CCTV visuals that monitor baggage from the point where it is unloaded from the flight to the point where it is delivered on the conveyer belt, and nowhere was theft recorded.
The incident came to light on November 8, when the NRI couple from America reached home after arriving at the Nedumbassery airport at 2.30am. The couple had immediately informed the Nedumbassery police and the Terminal Manager. While CIAL had accepted the complaint and followed up on it, it had earlier expressed doubts over the probability of theft in the terminal.