₹1.2-crore gold recovered from an aircraft at Mumbai airport
The Mumbai airport customs on Thursday found gold worth over ₹1.2 crore in an aircraft. The gold packages were found behind the metal plate in the toilet mirror of the flight that landed in Mumbai from the Middle East. Even with international borders being sealed, smuggling seems to be ongoing in the limited flights operating from few countries.
Airport sources confirmed that the air intelligence unit of Mumbai airport customs found three packages of gold from Etihad Airways EY 206 after the flight landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) on March 4.
A senior airport official said, “These packages had gold bars and wet gold dust weighing 3,136 grams, worth a total of ₹12,381,865. The packages were concealed behind the metal plate behind the washroom’s mirror.”
According to sources, the gold was recovered on the basis of specific inputs received by intelligence officers. A customs official requesting anonymity said, “The recovery was made on the basis of tip-off and so we were sure of the gold being hidden in the aircraft. However, the modus was one of its kind; so, it was difficult to find the smuggled metal.”
Another officer close to the investigation said, “It was only after prolonged search operation that the gold was found in the aircraft’s toilet. There have been many cases in the past where smugglers hide it under the toilet seat, but this was the first case where gold was hidden behind the mirror, giving negligible chance of being caught.”
A senior customs official said, “We have been making cases since September, even when the international borders are yet to open. We are investigating the matter, but it is difficult to reach the smuggler in such cases as the airport staffers who have access to all these areas do not usually get caught.”