Two men land from Dubai with 350gm gold in coffee mugs, biryani-filled tiffin
The gold was worth Rs 10 lakh and was detected when it went through the X-ray machinechandigarh Updated: Jul 28, 2017 17:03 IST
Coffee mugs and a biryani-filled tiffin box have joined the long list of ways couriers have tried smuggling gold into the country. In another incident, two passengers from Dubai landed at the Chandigarh International Airport, allegedly carrying 350gm of 24-carat gold worth Rs 10 lakh, on Wednesday evening.
Identified as Saleem and Ameer Alan from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, both were carrying tiffin boxes and coffee mugs that contained gold foil. The precious metal was detected when it went through the X-ray machine.
In the last two cases, customs officials caught a Maharashtra man and recovered 407gm of gold from his rectum, followed by a Batala man who was carrying 540gm of gold inside the beading of his suitcase.
Sources said gold foil was found wrapped around the tiffin boxes, covered with white tape on the outside. Customs first got the lead from the tiffin boxes.
They added that the two men later said they were also carrying gold inside the coffee mugs.
An official said, “The coffee mugs had an outer plastic layer and an inner body of steel. We broke open the outer layer to find the gold wrapped around the steel.”
Saleem was carrying gold worth Rs 4.7 lakh while Ameer was carrying gold over Rs 5 lakh. Both are couriers for a larger gang operating in India. The Chandigarh airport has turned into a soft target ever since an international flight started from here in September 2016.
GOLD WORTH RS 90 LAKH SEIZED SO FAR
Seven cases of gold smuggling have surfaced within 10 months of starting a flight to Dubai. This takes the total amount seized to gold worth Rs 90 lakh. The biggest recovery so far was that of 1.3kg gold worth Rs 37 lakh earlier this year.
The attractive difference in price is fuelling the illegal trade. The airport has become vulnerable as security has been strengthened 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. Also, gold from Dubai is purer and has higher market value in the Indian market. The price difference is as high as 15 to 20%.
First Published: Jul 28, 2017 16:19 IST