Ahmedabad, Goa airports trio’s favourite targets: CISF

THREE men who were arrested at the domestic airport in Santacruz last week for allegedly stealing valuables considered Ahmedabad and Goa airports as their favourite hunting grounds, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said.

The trio allegedly said they targeted passengers at these two airports as they were lax about their personal belongings.

The accused were nabbed on March 18 — five days after they allegedly walked away with Rs 1 lakh from the luggage of a passenger flying to Chandigarh from Mumbai.

The accused, Dwarkesh Daddoguda Kurba (47), Ushakant Janardan Sonawane (57) and Shankarlal Bhanushali (59) allegedly confessed to having committed seven thefts at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Goa, New Delhi and Mumbai airports. They first came under the radar of the CISF in September last year when they allegedly stole Rs 75,000 from from a passenger in Bangalore.

The trio was based in Mumbai and handed over to the Airport police station. "Sonawane and Bhanushali have cases of theft registered with us in 2006. We have seized Rs 17,000 from them and will conduct a search at their homes. It is likely that they have spent most of the money they stole," said Dilipkumar Taral, senior inspector, Airport police station.

On their modus operandi, CISF Senior Commandant M K Singh, said the accused always took care to arrive three hours before the scheduled departure of their flight, booked the flight a day in advance and paid only in cash so that they do not leave a money trail. "They were always impeccably dressed.

If they found no passenger at the check-in counter, they would wait in the departure lounge and scout for passengers with an attractive bag. After their flight landed, one of them would track the passenger as he boarded the bus to the airport terminal. The other two, by then, would have already boarded an earlier bus for the terminal, and would intercept the passenger's luggage at the baggage conveyer belt and would remove what they could. Their accomplice, who would be arriving on the later bus with the victim, would alert them when he reached the terminal," he said.

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