Air India SATS Employees Were Under Pressure To Smuggle Gold, Says Former Employee

Air India SATS Employees Were Under Pressure To Smuggle Gold, Says Former Employee Reservation and ticketing counter of Air India (Representative Image) (Kalpak Pathak/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • The employee added that an “underworld-like environment” existed at SATS and she was asked to take part in the gold smuggling activities.

A former vice-president of Air India SATS Airports Private Ltd, India’s leading ground and cargo handling agency at airports, allegedly put pressure on the staff to smuggle gold into the country.

SATS former vice-president even appointed Swapna Suresh, the key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, hiding her ineligibility, Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi reported, quoting a former employee of the agency.

The employee, Merin Mathew, said an “underworld-like environment” existed at SATS and she was asked to take part in the gold smuggling activities.

The former vice-president had told her that she could make money if she paid heed to him and could have forced other employees too, Merin said.

The employee filed a complaint in 2016 against the company vice president Binoy Jacob, an accused in 2003 Visa scam, but it was not handled properly. She had to meet many officials to get her complaint filed.

Merin said she had provided details of the irregularities to the police and court, adding that many ineligible persons have been appointed to SARS ignoring merit.

The former employee said that Swapna got support from gangs outside the airport and smuggling gangs focussed on Thiruvananthapuram.

The smuggling case came to light after Customs authorities seized 30 kg of gold from diplomatic baggage belonging to the United Arab Emirates Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The case resulted in the Kerala Chief Minister’s office being dragged into controversy as Principal Secretary M Sivasankar was reported to have called the Customs authorities to go easy on Swapna.

Along with Swapna, a few others including Sarith Nair, who was involved in the smuggling along with her, his brother Sandeep Nair, and a couple of others have been arrested.

Since the smuggling is reported to have terrorist links, the National Investigation Agency has taken over the investigations.

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