The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai Customs arrested three men on Sunday, including two international airport staffers, for their alleged involvement in smuggling 16 gold bars worth Rs56 lakh. The haul comes within a week after the officials found gold jewellery and gold bars worth Rs70 lakh abandoned in one of the men’s washroom.
The gold bars were recovered after AIU officials followed Ashraf Melparamba Amu, 29, upon finding his flight details suspicious. Amu hails from Kasaragod district in Kerala and had flown in from Dubai. He works as a salesman in a shoe shop at Sharjah.
“He had hidden two packets in the washroom near the international transit. Our officers, who were on his trail, found the packets and recovered 16 gold bars worth Rs56 lakh from them. Each of the bars weighs 10 grams,” said a senior AIU official. “While one of the officers took the packets in his custody, the other followed Amu for a while before detaining him.”
During questioning, Amu told the authorities that someone was supposed to collect the packets from the washroom. Accordingly, a trap was laid and a cleaner was taken into custody after he was found moving suspiciously near the washroom. He was identified as Aakash Magar, 25, a resident of Goregaon.
“Magar was detained before he could flee the area after spotting AIU officials. He had no reason to be near this particular washroom. Upon questioning, he said he wanted to visit the washroom to relieve himself. However, he had no answer as to why he didn’t use any of the two washrooms that fell on the way to the area he was found loitering in,” said an AIU official.
During questioning, Magar revealed involvement of his supervisor Sumit Dalal, 27, a Vikhroli resident. Both Magar and Dalal work the private firm hired for maintaining artwork at the airport, said another official. Probe revealed that the smugglers had hired the duo to sneak out the gold bars from the airport. Authorities are investigating whether the two were involved in similar crimes in the past.