Customs seized gold worth Rs63.52 lakh in two separate smuggling incidents early on Saturday.
In the first case, officials of the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) recovered 18 gold bars collectively weighing 2.98kg from Dubai-Mumbai flight AI 984. Acting on a tip-off, they waited till the flight landed at the international airport. A search revealed gold worth Rs54,67,924 hidden below the seats.
“The gold was neatly packed into ladies’ stockings and concealed in a hollow pipe beneath one of the seats. Aircraft seats are usually supported by a hollow pipe, which is open at the end closer to the window. Smugglers hide gold biscuits in these pipes so passengers on the next flight can retrieve them,” said Pradnyasheel Jumle, deputy commissioner, Customs, describing the smugglers’ modus operandi.
The customs department has registered a case. Investigations are on to determine who hid the gold.
In another case, customs took an Indian national identified as Vimlesh Panchal into custody after he flew in from Bangkok carrying undeclared gold ornaments.
According to AIU officials, Panchal was carrying a gold chain, a gold bracelet and other ornaments of about 350g worth Rs8,84,618.
Officials said Panchal evaded the red channel — meant for passengers with goods to declare — and took the green channel without paying customs duty. He was booked.