On 21 July, Sunday, I traveled from Kolkata to Delhi by Air India AI 763. I was to fly by the 11.10 am Jet Airlines flight to Dehradun from IGI Airport Terminal 3. As I went to check-in they saw that my suitcase weighed 19 kg, i.e. 4 kg more than permitted. The gentleman at the counter told me, you may shift 4 kg to your handbag as he gave me the Boarding Pass saying that he would issue me the luggage tag when I resubmit it. I rearranged a few things and I knew that I have not done much as there was not much space in the handbag too. A loader (the person who loads luggages) came to me and said he would get it weighed. When he saw that it was weighing 17 kg, he said, "Sir, you will have to pay Rs. 500 for the excess baggage. But I can get it done, you just give me some money!" I got a shock! Waaw....when did this kind of corruption get in? I planned to take the risk. I said, "Okay". He took the Boarding Pass from me.
He went to one of the counters, spoke to the guy on the check-in counter, and then got the luggage tag on my Boarding Pass, and got my luggage moving. As he was busy at the counter, I pulled out my Samsung SII Galaxy, switched on the audio recorder to capture whatever discussion may take place between me and him. He returned to give me the Boarding Pass and said, "See, it would have cost you 500. You give me 400 !" He stretched out his hand in front of so many passengers. I walked ahead, and he followed me. As soon as we were away from the lines, I pulled out two hundred rupee notes and two 50 rupee notes from my wallet and told him that I have only this much - Rs. 300. I also noted quickly in my mind the last four digits of one of the 100 rupee notes. He moved away quickly.
I too took a stroll around so that he does not begin to watch me, and then I asked one of the Jet Air attendants walking by for the Supervisor. He showed me towards the check-in counters. I knew that that is not the correct position for me. I walked up to another information desk and I told the gentleman there that I had to bribe someone and I want to make a complaint. He directed me to the GMR Information Desk at the Departure Hall. I narrated the event to the gentleman there. He was very quick. He asked me if I can show the location or the person. I said I can clearly identify him, and even the money! He picked up his wireless and started talking into it, "Delta ...calling....### Delta.... Over" in some kind of code language. In couple of seconds another gentleman with stern eyes came to the counter and the GMR person asked me to narrate the event and walk with them. By then another young lady in jeans joined us. I asked them, "Who are you?" They said, "We are from the Vigilance Department". I narrated the event once again, and I led them to the counter. I identified the loader who had by then moved away from there to another counter area.
The vigilance officer called him and immediately in a fraction of second plucked his Identity Card. The loader's name is Jai Singh Meena. Hei, now he cannot escape and run out of the airport! He was checked, and they pulled out the money from his pockets, and the money was identified and matched. Then we were taken to another counter. I was asked to give a written complaint. Meanwhile we were joined by two more officers one from the Jet Airways and another person, a senior officer, who said that he is the "Inspector". I was handed over the money and then I practically ran for the flight as it was time to catch up!
Beware of Corruption in Airports and anywhere. Fight it intelligently. Take time to fight it. Do not shy away. We do have good officers who can respond to situations responsibly.