Diamond heist on Jet Airways flight to Brussels

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MUMBAI: The Mumbai airport seems to have turned into a hotbed for thefts — the latest incident being diamonds worth Rs 3.89 crore going missing from a consignment bound for Brussels in Belgium two weeks ago.

On May 13, a consignment of 24 packets of diamonds was sealed and sent as valuable cargo on Jet Airways flight 9W 228. But in Belgium, when the client collected the consignment, there were only 23 packets.

The flight’s scheduled departure time was 1.55am, but it left only at 5am and the delay apparently played a part in the theft.

The Sahar police, who are investigating the case, in a letter to Jet Airways alleged that the airline’s security personnel took the said valuable consignment from the airport’s strong room at 11.50pm, but left it unattended for four hours during the flight delay.

“That day the flight departed late. It looks like an organised crime,” claimed Udai Chinai, the complainant who had sent the consignment. Chinai owns B V Chinai and Co, one of the largest clearing and forwarding agents in India for diamond exports.

“This is the first time in the last 50 years that our diamonds have been stolen from a flight,” he added.

The Chinais learnt about the theft after the flight reached Brussels after nine hours and 25 minutes.

“Diamonds are carried in a sealed and packed container called the Val Box. The box is secured with eight metal seals. But on that day our agent who collected the box from the airline at Brussels airport found only four seals and one packet of diamonds missing,” said Chinai. The diamonds were insured.

“Along with the airline officials, we scanned the CCTV footage at the airport, which confirmed that we had handed over 24 packets of diamonds to Jet Airways. The airline took over the consignment and signed on the documents to validate its contents,” said Chinai.

A police complaint was filed on May 17.

At the Sahar police station, the case has gained much attention.

On Saturday, additional commissioner of police, C P Nangre Patil was at the station to inquire about its progress. “We have not made any arrests in the case yet,” Nangre Patil said.

“The theft has caused much consternation among personnel responsible for the security of cargo. A few of them have also applied for anticipatory bail,” said a source from the airlines.

“The matter is under investigation and the airline is fully cooperating with the authorities,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson.

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