Customs officials at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport were in for a surprise when a man with ‘fractured’ legs whom they detained on the suspicion of smuggling saffron was also trying to sneak out gold worth Rs 1 crore in his cast.
“A total of four gold bars — two wrapped in each leg and covered with plaster and tapes — were recovered. Each gold bar weighed one kilogramme. Because of the weight of gold he wasn’t able to walk properly, though everyone thought it was because of the ‘fractured legs’,” said a senior customs official.
Customs officials stopped the middle-aged Indian national arriving from Dubai in an Indigo flight on January 26 morning based on intelligence inputs about saffron smuggling.
“During the X-ray screening of his check-in baggage, we noticed some suspicious items. When opened, a total 17.25 kg of saffron was recovered from his baggage,” said the official.
He said smugglers often bring expensive spices from Dubai as it is cheaper there and sell it in Delhi at higher rates.
During interrogation, when officials noticed the plaster on both his legs and decided to remove it, they found four gold bars beneath the dressing.
Customs officials said ever since they ramped up vigil at the airport, smugglers had been trying every possible trick in the book to sneak gold into the Capital.
Around five days ago, officials arrested a man who was trying to smuggle 2kg gold worth Rs 53 lakh by hiding it behind his baggage trolley.
In other recent cases, smugglers tried stitching gold into a bra, stuffing it into the rod of a baby walker and tying it on thigh guards and around the waist.
The amount of gold seized has also increased in leaps and bounds, according to official data.
Against the 6.6 kg seizure of gold in 2012-13, the quantity of gold seized in 2013-14 increased to 384 kg and reached an all-time high of 574 kg in 2014-15.