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Senior Air India officer caught smuggling ₹44-lakh gold in Mumbai

The accused Janardan Kondvilkar, 50, is suspected to have been involved in other such cases as well

mumbai Updated: Nov 16, 2017 01:03 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Air India,Gold smuggling

A 50-year-old senior Air India officer was arrested with his accomplice at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Wednesday for smuggling gold worth Rs44.10 lakh.

The accused Janardan Kondvilkar, 50, is suspected to have been involved in other such cases as well, said the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU). Based on intelligence input, Kondvilkar was intercepted while he was exiting the aerobridge after attending flight AI 331 (Bangkok to Mumbai). “The personal search of Kondvilkar resulted in recovery of eight cut pieces of gold bars, totally weighing 1,649 grams, valued at Rs44.10 lakh,” said V. Rama Mathew, commissioner of customs, CSIA.

Kondvilkar, in-charge of maintenance, had to remove the hidden gold attached to the seat of flight AI 331. “A passenger had hid the gold under the seat which was retrieved by Kondvilkar. He was to exit the airport and hand it over to Vijay Rawal,” said a senior AIU officer.

Based on Kondvilkar’s questioning, Rawal was held from outside the airport. “Kondvilkar told us that he was to get Rs50,000 for the job,” said the officer.

An Air India spokesperson said, “The matter is under investigation and we are looking into the details.”

Preliminary investigation has revealed that a syndicate was operating this. “The money earned from gold smuggling is put back to bring in more gold using the gang,” said the officer. “Kondvilkar said during the previous instances of smuggling, he ha retrieved gold from the same flight as he was assigned for its duty. He has admitted to have retrieved gold weighing 600 grams to 1.5kg,” said the officer.

He also had many ways to exit without being noticed. “Kondvilkar being an employee would not come to the arrival hall as the passengers do. He used to exit the aerobridge, take staircase to the tarmac, from where he had multiple options to exit,” said the officer.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 01:03 IST