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How safe is our only international airport?

By Our Reporter
At once Charles Shovraj, who is now behind bars, said that he could pass even an elephant from the customs of the Tribhuvan International Airport. And he seems true. Confiscation of over 33kg gold from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal from Pingansthan, a few metres away from the TIA this week, revealed how unsafe our only international airport has been.
The gold was smuggled from the UAE was carried by one Gopal Bahadur Sahi, who had landed at TIA from AirArabia flights.
Interestingly, the huge amount if gold was not detected by the customs officers, thanks to the corrupt politicians and employees. But CIB managed to seize the gold and arrested three persons including Sahi.
A CIB team nabbed Gopal Bahadur Shahi who had landed at the TIA from the UAE in an Air Arabia flight with 33 kg of gold. He was held when he was about to get into a cab at the main exit gate (Golden Gate) of TIA.
Following his arrest, the CIB team later arrested two other persons—Dinbandhu Thapa of Morang and Santosh Kafle Shahi of Dhanusha. The duo had reached the airport to receive the gold.
“This is the largest amount of gold we have ever seized from the TIA,” said DIG Nawaraj Silwal, chief of the CIB.
The confiscated gold includes 244 biscuits, 18 chains and 11 rings. The smuggled gold was wrapped in a plastic and kept inside a luggage. Police said Shahi was arrested after he had already made his way out of the airport. The seizure of such a huge amount of gold has raised questions over the security situation at the country’s only international airport.
It was reported that the CIB succeeded to seize the gold on the basis of the information provided by the Interpol.
The incident proves that the customs officers had also involved in the crime.
Indeed, many corrupt employees get transferred to the airport paying a hefty amount to corrupt politicians. This time too many employees close to Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara were reportedly working at the customs.
Surprisingly, almost a week after the seizure of gold, the police have been unable to trace its owners, which increased suspicions whether the powerful politicians had involved in smuggling.
Many suspect that the case will be ended just by suspending or transferring a few staff and police working at the TIAA.
The arrestees were only carriers of gold smuggling racket based in Nepal and Dubai, and they had told police that had also smuggled gold in the past.
When gold smugglers can easily avoid detection of gold, they may one day will also be able to smuggle weapons because the corrupt employees will be ready to work for the smugglers if they are paid a few thousand rupees.

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