[Resolved] Government of India — CUSTOM OFFICERS SCAM AT INDIAN AIRPORTS- BRIBE, CORRUPTION
A story from a passenger about corruption on Indian Airports.
Below is the complaint I filed with the Central Vigilance Commission of India against a corrupt official at the Bangalore International Airport. It was filed on 10th Feb 2008. I have not heard anything from the CVC till date. But, as per their policy (http://www.cvc.nic.in/comp_stat_srch.asp) they take 3 months to generate a report and another 6 months for disciplinary action and another 6 months for imposition of penalty. As of now, I have not received any acknowledgement.
This is a complaint report against Mr. V. Giridharan
- Asst. Customs Officer at Bangalore International
Airport and his accomplices. His accomplices at the
airport include uniformed customs officials as well as
Here are the complaints against Mr. V. Giridharan:
1. Demanding a bribe from passengers to help them
evade customs duty.
2. Harassing passengers who seek to pay the official
customs duty and refuse to pay the bribe.
3. Charging customs duty on items that are to be
Here are the complaints against the trolley assistants
that work around the baggage claim area:
1. Forcefully, handling passenger’s baggage without
their permissions and causing nuisance to the passengers.
2. Crowding the baggage claim area near the conveyor
belt so as to causing inconvenience to the passengers.
The detailed complaint and the circumstances are
I arrived at the Bangalore International airport in
the first week of January at 840am from San Francisco
via Singapore Airlines flight SQ500. I am a
professional working in the United States and
returning after almost a year. I was carrying with me
a brand new Canon Pixma MP210 printer worth Rs. 2800/-.
The trolley assistants immediately grabbed my printer
from the conveyor without my permissions and pushed me
aside to take the printer to the red channel X-Ray.
Such behavior by the trolley assistants is condoned by
the customs officials and I suspect, is encouraged.
I handed over my passport to the customs official (Mr.
V. Giridharan) when requested. Mr. Giridharan took one
look at the printer and asked me for its value. I told
him that the printer is worth US$70 and pointed him to
the rate label on the box. Furthermore, I furnished
the original purchase receipt for the printer.
Mr. Giridharan mentioned that another passenger who
had a printer paid him Rs. 700/- and was allowed to go
without paying the customs duties and hence I should
do the same. I requested that I wish to pay the
official customs duty so that I can get a receipt. A
noticeably infuriated Mr. Giridharan claimed that he
would detain the printer. I insisted that I was not
refusing to pay the customs duty but, I would pay
money only if I were given an official customs
receipt. Mr. Giridharan in turn asked one of his
customs officials to frisk all my bags and evaluate if
there was anything else to levy a duty on. The other
official took an inordinate amount of time get to the
bags and instead kept convincing me to just pay up the
bribe and proceed out of the airport. A thorough
checking of my bags and suitcases revealed that I had
no other dutiable items.
All this time, my passport was with Mr. Giridharan. He
eventually opened up the customs receipt book and
wasted time with pointless talk to other people around
him while I was patiently waiting to know the duty
amount. It was very frustrating for me to have just
landed at the airport after a travel of almost 32
hours and having to wait in line for Mr. Giridharan to
chit-chat with his fellow officers instead of writing
up the receipt. I was able to obtain an official
customs receipt after an ordeal of almost 60 minutes
since having arrived at the baggage claim.
I am shocked, disgusted and humiliated by the blatant
corruption by the Customs Officials at the Bangalore
International Airport. In fact Mr. Giridharan was
pestering a foreign passenger who was waiting in line
right after me. Apparently people like Mr. Giridharan
have been asking for bribes very openly in front of
other passengers and customs officials. In fact, the
other customs officials and the trolley assistants
seem to be in partnership for the cash cheated out of
Government. I request you to take proper punitive
actions against Mr. Giridharan.
It would be unfair to just complain without providing
a few suggestions on how you could help to improve
1. Please install cameras monitoring the activities of
the customs channels and the baggage claim area. That
should at the least invoke a fear amongst the
officials that their behavior is being monitored and
2. Provide an area for trolley assistants to line-up
and help the passengers *only if* requested.
Otherwise, they should not enter the baggage claim
area. I have not seen trolley assistants in any other
airport in any country except for Bangalore where they
roam around with complete authority and harass the
passengers. I understand that there is a need for one
or two airport employees to set aside unclaimed
baggage from the conveyor. But, those employees should
be different from the trolley assistants.
3. Put up a public notice at the customs channels with
the anti-corruption vigilance officers names,
addresses, phone numbers and email ids so that they
can be contacted in case of an unruly behavior by the
customs officials on duty. It is scary that corrupt
officials like Mr. Giridharan who are harassing
passengers with demands for bribes are holding the
passengers’ passports as well as all other baggage.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at <email-address>
if you need any further information regarding this case.
I will be disclosing this complaint letter to the public
this via other channels as well as blogs.
Thanks for your attention and hope that we can make
Bangalore International Airport better.
Complaint marked as Resolved Aug 14, 2020
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