A Customs Superintendent at the air intelligence unit at Cochin International Airport was shunted out for allegedly refusing entry into the emigration area of the airport to an aide of EMKE group chairman M K Abdulla, who is a close relative of group managing director M A Yousuf Ali, a director of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) and an independent director of Air India.
Superintendent E Avaran was transferred out of the unit, said Customs Deputy Commissioner (Preventive) S A S Navas. Denial of entry into the emigration area had caused mental hardship for Abdullas assistant, who came to receive his boss, arriving from Dubai, said Navas.
The issue has exposed how a section of passengers close to airport directors flouted Customs regulations and enjoyed all-area pass at the airport with the connivance of a section of officials.
According to sources, on December 22 a CIAL manager sought Avarans permission to take Abdullas aide to the emigration area. Since the aide was a private party, entry was denied. Besides, the unit had restricted the entry of visitors to the emigration area a few days ago at the behest of the higher-ups. After two days, the Deputy Commissioner (Airport) discussed the issue with Avaran and on the same evening he was served with a transfer order without citing any reason. Avaran, who is left with two months for retirement, had joined the air intelligence unit six months ago.
Avaran said there was no issue of misbehaving with the businessmans assistant as he had not approached the customs for entry into emigration area. The permission was sought by CIAL manager. Even a pass will not entitle him an entry into the customs area after a flight has landed. A relative of Airport Director Yousaf Ali is not beyond the provisions of Customs Act. After the flight lands, the customs area is a vulnerable zone and entry is restricted by Customs, said Avaran, who was transferred to Customs Audit.