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Police post at airport

Three days after civil aviation minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain “alerted” chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on growing criminal activities at Calcutta airport, senior police and airport authority officials have decided to set up a police post in the terminal building.

Police and airport officials discussed details of the measure on Saturday.

Additional superintendent of police, Bidhannagar, Ajay Nand, met Airports Authority of India (AAI) director Roshan Lal and sought space to accommodate police personnel inside the terminal buildings.

The airport police station is currently located outside the two terminal buildings. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is in charge of security inside the international and domestic terminals, but FIRs on thefts and robberies are lodged with the police station.

“It is difficult for the CISF to identify and trace criminals inside the airport complex. For local police, the job becomes a lot easier,” a senior police officer said. Now, the police have to obtain permission to get into the terminal building and investigate cases.

“The government and the police owe a huge amount in rent to the AAI. Hence, airport authorities are reluctant to let out space to the police,’’ a senior AAI officer said. Director Roshan Lal, however, was guarded in his response. “It was a confidential discussion,’’ he said.

There has been a spurt in thefts and robberies inside the domestic and international terminals and near the cargo complex of late. “Criminals are hiding inside the airport itself,’’ the officer added.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the chief minister last week, Hussain had alleged that criminals are having a free run in and around the airport, “sneaking in through breaches in boundary walls”.

Bhattacharjee had directed chief secretary Sourin Roy and home secretary Amit Kiran Deb to look into the matter immediately. Police admitted that the airport complex has become “a cosy hideout for criminals” and said raids would be carried out in the next few days to flush them out.

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