The New Surveillance State

KOZHIKODE: As gold smugglers are scheming new tie-ups with officers, mainly of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), at airports in the state for easy conduit of  gold from Middle East countries, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued detailed instructions to keep a close watch on its personnel deployed at the cargo and passenger handling points at three airports.

According to senior CISF officers, the wing has started shadowing the activities of its personnel working at the state’s airports and restriction has been imposed on use of mobile phones by those on duty.

“Earlier there were reports of alleged collusion of a few security persons with gold smuggling rackets, but now we’ve tightened our surveillance and managed to put in check all such activities. We haven’t come across any such nefarious activities recently,” a senior CISF officer told Express.

Enforcement agencies, mainly the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), stumbled upon the nexus between the CISF personnel and smugglers after certain accused nabbed in connection with gold smuggling revealed the details during questioning.“We’re strictly following fresh set of guidelines issued by the CISF headquarters for those security personnel who’re handling passengers and cargo section at the airports. The personnel will be shifted frequently to minimise familiarity with the passsengers. While on duty, they will not be allowed to carry mobile phones,” the officers said.

The CISF decided to overhaul the duty guidelines and surveillance following an intelligence report that smugglers have been entering into murky tie-ups with CISF personnel by offering hefty commissions and gifts for every cleared consignment of gold. The arrest of a CISF jawan from Chennai airport for supporting smugglers and the series of incidents reported from other airports in the country, where CISF personnel played into the hands of the smugglers, too set the alarm bells for CISF to strengthen their surveillance in Kerala where gold smugglers operate in a large scale.

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