The Mumbai airport Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle precious iridium powder, meant for adulterating gold, when it arrested a carrier who returned from Hong Kong on Monday night.
The Customs authorities arrested Mohamed Shoaib and recovered one kg of iridium powder, valued at Rs18 lakh.
Shoaib, who arrived by a Kingfisher Airlines flight, walked through the green channel, meant for those passengers who don’t have anything to declare.
To import iridium, one requires a license.
Deputy commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhede stopped Shoaib and on checking his bag, found the powder in a plastic pouch. The pouch had been concealed in carbon paper, so as to escape detection by the screening machines.
Shoaib was handed over to the Air Intelligence unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs.
Mahendra Pal, additional commissioner of Customs, AIU, confirmed the arrest.
AIU officials said that in his statement, Shoaib claimed he was paid Rs15,000 and given free air tickets to smuggle the iridium into the country. Officials also learnt that the powder was meant for gold adulteration.
“Dubious jewelers sell adulterated gold and make quick money,” an AIU official said, adding that the substance was in huge demand here.