In one of the major catches this year, Customs officials at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) have arrested a passenger with gold bars worth R1.67 crore.
Acting on a specific input on Sunday, a passenger from Dubai was stopped for checking. After nothing was found, he was physically searched and something heavy was found wrapped around his waist.
The man, later identified as one Ram Niwas Sharma from Nangloi, was found wearing a customised belt beneath his trouser belt. The hidden belt was found fitted with six gold bars, each weighing over 1kg.
"While keeping tabs on passengers coming from Dubai, Verma was stopped for checking after he crossed the green channel and was moving towards the exit gate. After searching him thoroughly, we recovered 6.45kg of gold bars worth R1.67 crore from him," said Neeta Lall Butalia, commissioner of Customs (I&G). Verma has been arrested and the gold seized.
The accused, a jeweller, had arrived from an Emirates flight. During interrogation, he told the officials that he would have made jewellery from the gold bars. "We are investigating other angles too as he may have been acting as a carrier for some big smuggler. He had travelled earlier too and we need to know if he had smuggled gold that time," a senior customs official said.
Since duty on gold has recently been increased from 6% to 8%, Customs officials are expecting a rise in cases of smuggling and keeping a special watch on passengers coming from Dubai.