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Racket busted: 2 fliers use 2 airline bus drivers to sneak ₹40 lakh gold out of Mumbai airport

The two passengers and two bus drivers were arrested.

mumbai Updated: Mar 29, 2018 23:31 IST
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Hindustan Times
(For Representation)

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) at the Mumbai international airport on Wednesday arrested two passengers and two bus drivers of an Indian budget airline for their involvement in an international gold racket.

Their caper came to an end when the AIU recovered 1.4kg of gold bars worth Rs40 lakh on Wednesday.

The two passengers — Pawan Teckhandanil and Kumar Murlidhar — are residents of Ulhasnagar in Thane. The bus drivers were indentified as Paresh Kudtrarkar and Santosh Bhure. Murlidhar and Teckhandanil told the AIU that racket members have smuggled 5kg of gold in Mumbai, said an AIU source

The AIU recovered the 1.4kg gold, which was wrapped with a black tape and hidden under the rear seats of a bus driven by Kudtrarkar. During questioning, Kudtrarkar revealed that Teckhandanil and Murlidhar hid the gold in the bus. Later, the three revealed the involvement of another driver, Bhure, in previous gold smuggling incidents.

Officials received a tip-off that a few passengers from Dubai will smuggle high-value gold in Mumbai early on Wednesday. As the flights of the airline in question land farther from the terminal, buses are used to ferry passengers to the Mumbai international airport.

“The passengers would hide the smuggled gold under the bus seats. The drivers would later leave the security ring with gold,” said the source.

Teckhandanil and Murlidhar admitted to having smuggled 5kg of gold in the past. The drivers and passengers were booked under relevant sections of the Customs Act. Investigators are now checking the call details of the arrested passengers to know more about their international counterparts in the smuggling ring. They are investigating as who was supposed to received the gold. To hoodwink security officials at the airport, smugglers are increasingly relying on airline staff to facilitate gold smuggling, said the source.

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 23:31 IST