The Central Industrial Security Force has seized ₹29.13 crore cash and 135.12kg gold from airports across the country after demonetisation.
The central force, which guards the airports and other vital economic installations, had raised the guard against illicit cash and gold after the Prime Minister announced scrapping of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.
At Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), security personnel seized ₹6.20 crore cash in old currency and 15.15 kg gold. Officials said each day since November 8, at least two passengers who were carrying cash or gold were stopped and checked.
₹12.56 crore and 67.5 kg gold was seized at Mumbai airport.
“What is interesting that in most of the cases, passengers were not trying to hide the cash. It so happened probably because carrying cash is not a crime and on domestic routes, no one usually checks even if someone is carrying cash or gold,” said a senior CISF officer.
“We had asked the staff posted at the baggage scanners to remain vigilant and that is how we have managed to check over 100 passengers,” the officer said.
Besides passenger jets, the CISF is checking passengers travelling by helicopters. The guards have been extra vigilant since ₹3.5 crore were seized from a chopper in Dimapur. Sources said choppers usually fly from smaller airfields where CISF does not provide security.
“We will continue the drive in order to stop the illegal dealings in old currency,” CISF DG OP Singh said.
Hindustan Times had reported about a circular that was issued to CISF personnel, asking them to keep an eye on cash in baggage.
“At airport, CISF scans hand baggage while registered baggage is scanned by the airport developer. Both have been asked to report to Income Tax if they notice a passenger carrying large amount of cash,” an official said.
“However, the amount has not been specified in the circular. Because, we usually don’t look for cash while scanning baggage for security, we have specifically asked the staff to look for hidden cash,” the official said.
The CISF are not taking any action against such passengers and not even stopping them to board the plane. But they are taking down their details such as name and address and an identity card so that if needed, the flier can be located easily.