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37-Year Old Indian Found Guilty of Bribing Official at Singapore Airport

Gopal Krishna Raju, a manager in a food processing company, bribed at least SGD 800 to Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai, who worked as a customer service associate for logistics service provider UBTS at the Changi airport.

PTI

Updated:September 20, 2019, 4:59 PM IST
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37-Year Old Indian Found Guilty of Bribing Official at Singapore Airport
Representative image of Changi Airport in Singapore. (Image: Reuters)

Singapore: A 37-year-old Indian in Singapore on Friday pleaded guilty to bribing a compatriot worker at the Changi Airport to under report the weight of passenger bags with gold in it for sale in India, media reports said.

Gopal Krishna Raju, a manager in a food processing company, bribed at least SGD 800 to Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai, who worked as a customer service associate for logistics service provider UBTS at the airport, between January and October 2016 to under-report the weight of baggage with his gold in it, Channel News Asia reported.

Patel's responsibilities at the work place included assisting passengers at boarding gates and check-in counters for Tigerair flights.

Patel's offence came to light after Singapore Airport Terminals Services conducted a internal investigations following a report published in the New Paper on July 13 last year, claiming that a baggage-touting syndicate was operating at Changi Airport.

Later, Patel was ordered a jail term of eight weeks and fined SGD 800 in April this year for accepting the bribe. Raju had a side business purchasing gold in Singapore and sending it to Chennai for it to be sold there.

Instead of using a courier service, Raju looked for passengers travelling to Chennai, including strangers or his own friends, and asked if they were willing to carry gold to Chennai for his relatives.

His relatives would then pay the passengers an unidentified sum of money. During the hearing, Raju's lawyer said he would be asking for a fine, but the judge said "he's not going to get a fine" and adjourned sentencing to September 23, the Straits Times reported.

Raju faces a maximum jail term of five years, a fine of up to SGD 100,000, or both.

The prosecution asked for a term of eight weeks' jail to be imposed, saying that the harm in this case goes "far beyond the lost excess baggage fees".

He said Changi Airport has a stellar reputation, regularly rated as the world's best airport, while Singapore has a "hard-won reputation as a country that has no tolerance for corrupt activity".

"Any corrupt activity that takes place within the context of the air travel industry therefore threatens to severely undermine the reputation and national interests of Singapore," the prosecutor said.

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