Smugglers are now using airline employees – who get free tickets from their employers – for sneaking in gold into India and to save on the travel cost.
An employee of an international airline, who had gone to Dubai on a trip sponsored by his company, has been caught with gold worth Rs. 37 lakh from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
According to customs officials, smuggling of gold has increased again in the festive season. Gold worth Rs. 1.5 crore was recovered in a week.
Apart from the airline employee, a woman who was carrying gold in the form of jewellery was held recently. Last week, two passengers coming from Riyadh and Bangkok were arrested and gold bars worth Rs. 73 lakh were seized from them.
“International airlines give free air tickets to their employees and by using such employees as carriers, smugglers save on the travel cost. We had arrested airline employees earlier as well,” said a senior customs official, requesting anonymity.
In the latest case, the passenger who was coming from Dubai was stopped after he crossed the green channel.
“While there was nothing in his baggage, he had concealed the gold bars in his pockets. 1.35 kg gold has been seized from him and he has been arrested. We have written to the airline to take action against him,” the official added.
“We were expecting gold smuggling to rise during the festive season. A special watch was kept on passengers coming from the Gulf. Last week, a passenger who was wearing loose clothes had hidden gold bars in his inside pockets,” the official said.
Customs officials have already seized 36 kgs of gold worth Rs. 10 crore this financial year. During the last financial year 2012-13, only six kgs of gold worth Rs. 2 crore was seized.