Melbourne-based Dr Ramesh Nayak, his wife and their two children were forced to shell out an additional Rs 6.6 lakh to buy fresh tickets.
The items were retrieved 90 minutes after they went missing and the passengers were told they got stuck post scanning. CISF sources said another passenger unknowingly placed an empty tray on the one carrying the pouch, causing the confusion. The family now plans to sue CISF for service deficiency and for causing them hardship and financial loss.
The Nayaks arrived in India at the end of 2022 to visit their family in Tumakuru and Mangaluru after a four-year break due to the pandemic. What was a joyous holiday for the family ended in unexpected trouble after they reached KIA on the night of January 22 to board SriLankan Airlines flight UL 604 to return to Melbourne via Colombo.
Tray with passports, phone and wallet vanishes
“We checked our bags and went to the CISF bay for security check. In one of the trays, I placed my wallet carrying AUD 1,200, iPhone and the pouch carrying four of our Australian passports.
However, much to our shock, only that tray couldn’t be located on the other end of the scanner. When checks by us and security personnel proved futile, I immediately lodged a complaint with the CISF as time was running out and we had to board the flight to Colombo,” recalled Dr Nayak.
With the tray containing the passports vanishing, security personnel searched for it while the family anxiously waited for an answer. The initial assumption was that the items might have been stolen. However, when Dr Nayak dialled his number from his wife’s phone, his phone kept ringing.
“CISF staffers were very callous in attending to our situation despite us repeatedly alerting them about our flight situation. Finally, after 90 minutes, the officers handed over to us the tray with our items. But by then our flight had taken off.
Without any sense of responsibility or remorse, the CISF officials casually told us to leave the area as we had got our belongings,” lamented the physician, who was forced to return with his family as they couldn’t find fresh tickets that day to fly to Australia. The family finally left the country on January 26.
Senior sources with CISF at KIA confirmed the incident at the pre-departure screening and stated that the family members had taken their belongings but forgot to collect the tray with the mobile phone, wallet and passport pouch. In the meantime, another passenger unknowingly placed an empty tray on the one containing the items.
Private tray assistant staff shifted all trays to an input area and the phone, wallet and pouch remained there until the matter was investigated and CCTV checks determined the situation. The tray was found soon after, the sources added.
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