In the sixth instance of gold smuggling in two months, Customs officials on Friday arrested a 60-year-old man who was trying to smuggle 1kg of the yellow metal from Dubai. The value of the cargo is estimated to be worth Rs. 30.34 lakh.
Haresh Satikumar, a Mumbai resident, had concealed the ornaments in a specially designed vest that had an inner pocket that ended well below the waist. He slipped the ornaments, kept in two packets, into the inner pocket and zipped it up. He wore a loose shirt above it hoping it would conceal the stash. However, the discomfort and his awkward body language eventually gave him away.
At around 4.30am, Satikumar crossed the green channel at the city airport without declaring the gold, only to be caught by an air intelligence unit (AIU) batch headed by deputy commissioner of Customs, Sameer Wankhede. Officials found chains, bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants concealed inside the vest.
Satikumar later told the officials about his accomplice, one Shailesh Soni, a jeweller, who was waiting outside the airport to collect the consignment. Customs officials forced Satikumar to call on Soni's phone and lure him into a trap.
Satikumar also told officials that he was merely a carrier and he did this for a meager commission of Rs. 3,000. He had gone to Dubai on Wednesday to bring in the consignment.
Soni revealed that he was to receive the gold and hand over the same to a kingpin, who is being traced by the Customs.
Satikumar told officials he worked as an ornament maker in Dubai many years ago. However, things took a turn for the worse and he lost his job. Unemployed, he was finding it tough to support his wife and daughter with whom he lived in Mumbai. "He said earning Rs. 3,000 for a single job was better than dying of hunger," said a Customs official.
The two were arrested and produced in court. Advocate Ravi Hirani who represented the two accused said they had no knowledge that they had to declare the gold in India. The two men were released on bail.