Australian Woman Claims Jewellery, Money Stolen During Delhi Airport Security Check

A first information report (FIR) has been lodged against unnamed Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) employees after an Australian woman claimed that her jewels and foreign currency worth Rs 50,000 were stolen from her handbag during an X-ray check while transferring from the international to the domestic area of Delhi airport, news agency PTI reported. 

On August 11, Akeshni Singh Gour, 40, went from Sydney to Delhi on an Air India flight before connecting to a flight to Hyderabad on the same airline. She travelled to India to attend her father-in-law’s funeral.

“The whole thing was an act that involved a number of officials who knew what they were doing and they took advantage of my vulnerability of knowing a mother travelling alone with two tiny children (aged 3 and 7) who were both exhausted from a 15-hour flight,” states the FIR, which was filed on January 4.

Gour told PTI over the phone from her Sydney home that she only realised the theft after she arrived in Hyderabad, and that her strong suspicion of security personnel involvement stemmed from the fact that the only time her backpack containing valuables was out of her sight was when she went through the screening.

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“I wrote to every authority in the last six months, starting from Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia through airport security, Delhi Police, CISF, and so on,” Gour said, adding that she travels to India once in a while and that this trip was her first in six years.

In response to a PTI question, Apoorv Pandey, Public Relations Officer of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), said the incident is being investigated.

“On October 11, 2022, I received an e-mail from Arun Singh, AIG/Airport Security, asking me to pursue the matter with the local police,” the woman explained, according to the PTI report. 

“Local Police is the right authority for the redressal of your grievance,” Singh continued in his letter. Giving specifics, she stated that during the X-ray screening, she took five trays, three for her backpacks, one for her bag, and one for her laptop. She stepped out the other side of the screening process with her children, the report said. 

“All trays but the one with the backpack and my personal belongings came together. I picked all the stuff and later saw the one tray with the backpack going onto the other side where those bags with questionable items go,” she explained, as stated in the report. 

“I walked to the other side and the officer asked me for my boarding pass and I said the boarding pass is in that bag itself. He then asked me to take that out which I did as it was sitting right on top,” she said. 

According to the report, when the officer asked her to leave after looking at the X-ray screen, she had no reason to be suspicious. However, she was surprised that he didn’t even check the luggage.

“If they found some questionable items, why didn’t they check it then? They asked me rather hurry up and go without any inspection”, she stated, according to the report. 

“I am desperate and hoping to have faith in the legal system of India to assist me not for only my benefit but to also ensure that there aren’t any more victims who travel through India and are targeted by these low lives who are supposed to be there in the first place for our safety and security,” the FIR reads.

(With Inputs From PTI)