A 50-year-old man's attempt to smuggle gold was foiled by his wearing gold chains meant for women.
Ramesh Bafna and his family allegedly tried to sneak out of Mumbai airport without paying duty for the 762 gm of gold worth Rs. 21.2 lakh that they had brought from Dubai.
The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs arrested Bafna - a utensil exporter - his wife Umbari, 46 and daughter Vijeta, 22 on their arrival from Dubai in a Spice Jet flight (SG-0014) on Tuesday night. They were arrested on smuggling charges.
An AIU batch headed by deputy commissioner of Customs, Sameer Wankhede first stopped Bafna after he crossed the Green Channel at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport without declaring the gold he was carrying.
The officials of the AIU grew suspicious when they saw Bafna with two big gold chains on his neck generally meant for women.
"He also looked uncomfortable," a Customs official said requesting anonymity.
After searching Bafna, the officials found some more gold chains and bracelets in the inner pocket of his trouser. When officials rolled up the full sleeves of his shirt, they found two bracelets, one on each hand. Bafna said he was being accompanied by his wife and daughter.
The AIU officials got two women officials to search the duo. From Umbari, his wife, the officials recovered two gold chains she was wearing. Woman officials also found boxes concealed in her clothes in which she had kept around 10 pairs of rings and earrings.
Even Vijeta, Bafna's daughter, was wearing a gold necklace and chains totally weighing about 300 gm. She had covered herself with a shawl to hide the jewellery, which was found when she was searched.
The officials also recovered bills for the seized gold. The three admitted they had concealed the gold to evade. They were supposed to pay around 36% duty on the gold they had bought. For licensed importers, the duty on gold is 10% for ornaments and 4% for gold bars.
Bafna claimed that the family had gone to Dubai six days ago to buy gold, as their daughter was soon getting married. But officials are sceptical about this.
"He initially said he had only 30 gm of gold and tried to hide the bills," the official said.
The Customs on Wednesday morning released all the three on bail of Rs one lakh each.