Smugglers’ escape from Lucknow airport: Alleged kingpin nabbed - Hindustan Times
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Smugglers’ escape from Lucknow airport: Alleged kingpin nabbed

By, Lucknow
Jun 17, 2024 05:54 AM IST

On April 3, 29 gold smugglers managed to escape the custody of customs officials at the Lucknow airport

Around two and a half months after 29 gold smugglers managed to escape the custody of customs officials at the Lucknow airport on April 3, the customs department on Sunday nabbed one of alleged masterminds of gold and cigarette smuggling network allegedly operated by smugglers based in India and in Gulf countries.

The arrested man was identified as Mohammad Sadiq, 40, of Kanda village in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district. (For Representation)
The arrested man was identified as Mohammad Sadiq, 40, of Kanda village in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district. (For Representation)

The arrested man was identified as Mohammad Sadiq, 40, of Kanda village in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district, the customs officials said.

“The capture of Mohammad Sadiq is a major breakthrough for our department. He is one of the kingpins and we expect to extract critical information regarding the 29 smugglers who escaped on April 3,” said a senior customs official while confirming the arrest and preferring anonymity.

The smuggling ring has been a focal point for customs department’s investigations due to its sophisticated operations and significant financial implications. The network’s ability to orchestrate large-scale smuggling efforts across international borders has raised concerns about the effectiveness of current security measures at major transit points, including airports.

The officials are quizzing him about his modus operandi, other aides, their hideouts and transactions etc.

The arrest comes after an intensive manhunt and strategic operations by the customs department aimed at dismantling the smuggling syndicate. Authorities are hopeful that Sadiq’s interrogation will reveal valuable insights into the modus operandi of the smuggling ring and lead to further arrests.

If proven guilty under the Customs Act, Mohammad Sadiq will face up to six years of rigorous imprisonment.

This case underscores the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in curbing smuggling activities and securing national borders.

While 28 gold smugglers hail from Rampur’s Tanda village, one is from Uttarakhand and all of them know each other well, the officials said.

The escape of these 29 smugglers was caught on CCTV cameras of the airport. As per the officials, there has been a sixfold increase in gold seizures during the 2023-2024 in Uttar Pradesh.

Smuggled gold items weighing about 140 kg were recovered at Lucknow, Varanasi and a few other airports in the state by different agencies including customs in the said period, they added.

“This rise in seizures is accompanied by an increase in the trafficking of foreign cigarettes, with approximately 15 crore worth of contraband intercepted across Uttar Pradesh,” the officials said.

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