In the last three days, officials from Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai Customs have seized gold worth Rs2.29 crore at the international airport. But what makes this seizures unique are the methods deployed by smugglers trying to sneak in the precious metal. Officials said smugglers are now hiding their consignments in kitchen appliances, gadgets and portable car washers, so that it raises minimum suspicion.
Bids have been foiled to sneak in gold concealed in mixer-grinder, microwave, portable car washer, oven and washing machine, following which the AIU officials arrested five fliers and a carrier. Sources claimed multiple gangs are involved in using innovative ways to smuggle gold into the country.
In the first case, AIU intercepted Ahamed Thameez of Kasaragod district in Kerala and recovered gold worth Rs 61 lakh that was concealed in the motor of a portable car washer. “We took risk of cutting open the car washer, as the passenger was found to be suspicious. We were ready to compensate if gold was not recovered, but we detected the yellow metal. Smugglers are now resorting to deep concealment methods to dodge the authorities,” said a high-ranking AIU official.
Following this seizure, a close watch was kept on passengers bringing in appliances from abroad, and it paid off. AIU detained Faisal Veerumbin Chalil, who had arrived from Abu Dhabi, and recovered gold collectively weighing 1.37kg (worth Rs 37.35 lakh) from a mixer grinder he was carrying.
Similarly, Irfanbhai Parvatsingh Rana was caught carrying three pieces of gold weighing almost 2kg and valued at Rs 54.14 lakh. The consignment was cleverly hidden in a specially made hollow cylindrical iron shaft covered from both ends, which formed the central part of the motor of a portable car washer.
Similarly AIU confiscated two pieces of gold, weighing 1kg, worth Rs27.33 lakh from Rashid Manikoth, which were concealed in the motor of a mixer-grinder.
In the fifth interception, 13 gold bars weighing 1.6kg were recovered from Abdussaleem Mohammed Pallickal after his arrival from Dubai. The gold bars were pegged at Rs43.98 lakh. Pallickal had hidden them in the space between coils of the transformer of an electric oven.