Indian businessman charged in LaGuardia Airport security breach

Phani Kumar Varanasi

The area of LaGuardia International Airport where Phani Kumar Varanasi managed to breach the barrier of a “sterile area” of the facility.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — In video first obtained by the New York Daily News, a rookie security guard could be seen looking-on as an Indian national haplessly wandered right into an off-limits area of the facility.

Phani Kumar Varanasi, 41, was placed under arrest Thursday, two days after the Tuesday security breach on a charge of criminal trespass after surrendering to Port Authority cops at the Queens airport, police said.

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” a relative of Varanasi’s told the Daily News. “It was a mistake. He was just going on vacation. We are in a deep soup.”

According to the report, Varanasi told police he was confused about where to go after exiting from his plane, he had just arrived from Detroit. Video obtained in the report shows Varanasi casually venturing into a “sterile area” of the airport, while a TSA employee sits at his desk just as casually inside LaGuardia’s Terminal B.

The incident led to a partial evacuation of the terminal while causing travel problems for hundreds of passengers as authorities conducted a security sweep.

Varanasi managed to wander the restricted zone of the airport for five minutes without being noticed, before returning to the public space through the same exit and walking away, according to the TSA. Port Authority cops were finally called, but Varanasi was already gone by then.

The worker at his desk was “within the one-year probation period, and appropriate action will be taken,” the TSA said in a statement on Thursday.

Varanasi was identified through surveillance video and a list of passengers aboard the flight. He works as a general manager with Sankhya Infotech, an India-based manufacturer of gas and water meters.

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