A 30-year-old man, who was attempting to smuggle 4kg of gold, worth Rs1.04, crore in his underwear, was caught by the Customs authorities at the Mumbai airport on Friday.
What arose their suspicion, said authorities, was the strange manner in which Adam Hamid was walking, as he crossed the green channel – meant for only those passengers who have no goods to declare.
Hamid was carrying the gold in the form of chains, which were more than 500 in number.
He had arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 4am from Dubai, by Air India flight AI 984. Deputy commissioner of Customs, Sameer Wankhede, stopped him after he crossed the green channel.
On being stopped, Hamid confidently showed his handbag to the authorities.
He was then taken to a room and asked to undress, when officials found that he had concealed the gold chains in a kneecap, tied about his underwear. Above this, he wore two more pairs of underwear.
Authorities found that Hamid, who lives in Karnataka and is a professional carrier, had gone to Dubai four days ago, Air Intelligence Unit officers, who are conducting further investigations, said that Hamid was given the gold by someone in Dubai, and a receiver was to come to the airport, to collect the consignment. “However, the receiver realised there was a problem, and did not come,” said an AIU officer, requesting anonymity.
Customs authorities suspect that the gold was meant for a city-based jeweller.
Hamid used to make frequent trips to Dubai. “He told us that all these visits were smuggling-related, mostly for gold,” the AIU official said. Commissioner of Customs, Airport, PM Govande confirmed the arrest.
Customs officials said that gold cannot be imported directly by anyone. It can only be imported through government — authorised agencies. As gold costs are lower in Dubai (where it costs around Rs500 less per 10gm, as compared to Mumbai), it is frequently smuggled from there.
The sharp rise in gold prices has made it much sought after for smugglers. “The steep rising price of gold is prompting its smuggling, but we are now extra alert,” the official said adding that upcoming festival and marriage season is further prompting smuggling of the yellow metal.