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Gold pieces hidden inside hollowed-out dates seized at Delhi airport

Customs officials at Delhi airport on Wednesday seized cylindrical-shaped gold bars that was being smuggled into the country inside hollowed-out dates.

delhi Updated: Mar 15, 2018 23:14 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times
Delhi airport,gold smuggling,dates
Customs officials at Delhi airport on Wednesday seized cylindrical-shaped gold bars that was being smuggled into the country inside hollowed-out dates.(Sourced)

Customs officials at Delhi airport on Wednesday seized cylindrical-shaped gold bars that was being smuggled into the country inside hollowed-out dates.

“On Wednesday, around 10am, a passenger arrived from Riyadh by Jet airways flight 9W-509. Nothing suspicious was found until we decided to check the packet of dates he was carrying. One date was opened and instead of seed, cylindrical shaped gold bar was found inside. A total of 34 such bars, weighing 350 grams, was recovered,” said a customs officer.

Another customs officer said that this was the first time such a modus operandi was noticed and they will alert their counterparts at other airports to look out for such cases.

“The second case happened in the same evening when a passenger coming from Jeddah by Saudia airline SV 758 was stopped. The packet of dates he was carrying was checked and a total of 25 pieces of gold, weighing 250 gm, was seized,” the officer added.

Both passenger, however, was not arrested as the value of gold was less than Rs 20 lakh.

Customs officials at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) have bene witnessing unique modus operandi to smuggle gold. Last month, three passengers had tried to smuggle in gold by powdering it and mixing it with an energy drink powder.

Customs officials have seized 214 kg gold this year worth Rs 59.92 crore in 2017. While in 2016, 180 kg gold was seized.

Delhi airport is connected to 70 international cities and with 25,000 passengers arriving everyday from these cities. So, officials said, it becomes impossible to check every passenger. Customs rely on technology and profiling to catch smugglers apart from short listing cities from where gold can be smuggled in.

First Published: Mar 15, 2018 23:14 IST