In a rare catch for Customs officials at the IGI airport, an Italian national who works for Air India was held with 3kg gold worth Rs 75 lakh hidden inside a battery.
The Customs officials usually keep a close watch on people arriving from or going to the Gulf countries since most of the gold smugglers are caught on this route.
The accused is based out of Rome and was “on official duty” when he was apprehended. “We have confirmed with Air India and his ticket says that he was on official duty. We have informed the Italian embassy and recorded the statement of the passenger. It seems that he was just a carrier who was offered a big sum of money to deliver the consignment to someone in India,” an official said.
“He was coming from what we believe is the least suspicious sector and it is because, we had a specific input that we managed to nab him. Soon after his arrival, from an Air India flight, our staff kept a watch on him and waited for him to reach the green channel. Soon after he crossed the green channel without declaring anything, we stopped him,” said Vinayak Azaad, additional commissioner (customs) at Delhi airport.
During the frisking, nothing suspicious was found but when his hand baggage was put through scanner, some black line was noticed inside a small battery that he was carrying. “The battery was opened and the plates made of copper in a regular battery were found to be of gold.
Gold bars were found inside the box. The passenger initially denied having any gold but through his phone details, we manage to confirm that he was aware of it,” said a customs official.
The accused was going to deliver the gold consignment to someone outside the airport. Through the photograph the passenger was carrying, the officials arrested another person identified as a tour operator.