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Woman held with gold worth over Rs 23 Lakh at Lucknow airport

The passenger used a novel way of smuggling the yellow metal. She converted the gold into rings, got them polished with rhodium and got them fixed into her handbag and cargo pants. She was able to escape the customs checking

lucknow Updated: May 18, 2019 09:52 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow airport,gold smuggling
The woman allegedly got the gold rings polished with rhodium (above) and then fixed them into her handbag (right).(Sourced)

A woman passenger returning from Bangkok was held with 697 gms gold worth Rs 23.42 lakh at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport on Friday morning.

“The passenger used a novel way of smuggling the yellow metal. She converted the gold into rings, got them polished with rhodium and got them fixed into her handbag and cargo pants. She was able to escape the customs checking, but we managed to scan her purse and caught her smuggling the gold into the country,” said Niharika Lakha, deputy commissioner, airport.

In the last 10 months, this was the second incident where a woman was caught smuggling gold into the country, she said.

“We seized around 697 gms gold worth Rs 23.42 lakh from a passenger, Raisa Begum, wife of one Mohammed Haroon of Daryaganj in Delhi. She was returning from Bangkok (flight number WE-333) on Friday morning,” she added.

“The customs officials were surprised at the way Raisa Begum faced the questions with confidence. During investigation, we found that she was a frequent flier and travelled to Bangkok regularly. But for the first time, she decided to enter India via Lucknow,” said Lakha.

In August 2018, another woman, Mobina Sheikh, was caught with almost a kg of gold. She was also coming from Bangkok, she said.

“If women are being used for gold smuggling, it is a cause of concern. From January to April, we have recovered around 12 kg gold worth nearly Rs 4 crore and arrested eight people for smuggling gold,” she added.

“We have noticed that smugglers target the workforce in the Gulf and Bangkok for pushing their goods into India. But with increased vigilance and technology, customs officials have been able to catch most of these smugglers along with the smuggled goods,” said Lakha.

Smugglers are not only smuggling gold, but also foreign brands of cigarettes as these cost much lesser than those manufactured in India, said officials.

“In the past, smugglers had zeroed in on this route for gold and cigarette smuggling. This was due to lack of use of advanced technology. But now the customs has stepped up vigil on the network of criminals and are using advanced gadgets to catch them,” said Lakha.

First Published: May 18, 2019 09:52 IST