Customs officials literally struck gold last week at the Indira Gandhi International Airport with the recovery of 21 kgs of gold worth Rs 5.5 crore from two separate passengers within a span of just two minutes.
According to a customs official, a passenger coming from Bangkok on a Thai Airways flight was intercepted after he crossed the green channel on April 9.
“He claimed innocence but when his baggage was checked, eight pieces of gold were recovered from his baggage. A total of 8 kgs of gold worth Rs 1.95 crore was recovered,” the official said.
Around the same time, when officials were interrogating this passenger, a team of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrived at the airport and based on a specific input, stopped three passengers coming on the same flight.
“A total of 13 kgs of gold worth Rs 3.5 crore was recovered from one of the bags that the three,” said a DRI official.
As the smuggling of gold is at its peak, the customs has launched a crackdown on passengers coming from gulf and other ‘sensitive’ destinations.
The continued crackdown resulted in recovery of six kgs of gold on Thursday night and Friday morning.
“A passenger coming from Dubai was stopped and when his baggage was put under the scanner, suspicious items were found. Physical search resulted into recovery of 25 biscuits weighing around 3 kgs,” said a customs official.
Few hours later on Friday morning, an Air India employee was held from Terminal 3 and three pieces of gold were recovered from his pockets.
“A passenger had handed over the gold to him and he was supposed to get it cleared from the customs area. Our team noticed his suspicious movement as he was not on duty. We are trying to locate the passenger,” the official said.
Customs said that carrier are lured into smuggling and are paid Rs 50,000 per kg while smugglers earn Rs 2-3 lakh per kg if smugglers manage to succeed.