Now, Batala man held at Chandigarh airport for smuggling 54-tola gold from Dubai
Accused was carrying suitcase with beading made of gold, got caught when it went through X-ray scannerpunjab Updated: Jul 14, 2017 12:25 IST
Three days after a man from Maharashtra was caught smuggling 407 grams of gold concealed in his rectum, the customs officials on Thursday recovered 540 grams of the precious metal from a passenger’s suitcase at the Chandigarh International Airport.
The gold was concealed in the beading of the suitcase of 50-year-old Baljit Kumar, who arrived here from Dubai. The beading, a sort of wire that holds together the suitcase’s internal structure, was made of gold. The gold was traced when the suitcase went through the X-ray scanner. The seized 24-carat gold is valued at Rs 15 Lakh.
An official said the accused is a resident of Batala in Gurdaspur district and was acting as a courier for his Dubai-based handler.
With this seizure, the total amount of smuggled gold recovered at the airport since September last year has crossed two kilogram.
WAS COURIER, GOT Rs 7,000 FOR THE JOB
Officials said Baljit got the briefcase from a person named Raju at the Dubai airport. He was told to deliver it to an accomplice outside the Chandigarh airport. The receiver, he said, had Baljit’s contact and was supposed to call him as soon as he stepped out. He was paid Rs 7,000 for the job.
“Gone are the days when a boat would land at a port with boxes filled with gold. Smugglers are employing different ways to outsmart security checks at airports,” said a customs official at the airport.
An official probing the case said the gold has been seized under the Customs Act and the accused is being questioned for further clues.
WHAT’S FUELLING ILLEGAL TRADE
International operations to Dubai began at the Chandigarh airport on September 15, 2016. Within 10 months, six cases of gold smuggling have surfaced. The total seizure worth Rs 80 lakh has been made.
The attractive difference in price is fuelling the illegal trade. The Chandigarh airport has become vulnerable as the enforcement agencies have strengthened security at airports in bigger cities.
The hike on gold duty, too, has increased the profit margin for smugglers. Importing gold from Dubai attracts 36% customs duty. If accused Baljit Kumar had managed to slip through the security, his handlers would have made a profit of Rs 3 lakh. The seized gold is valued at Rs 15 lakh.