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Rs 80-lakh gold hidden in vacuum cleaner seized at Chandigarh airport

Delhi man landed from Dubai, was carrying appliance with internal parts made of Rs 2.9-kg gold.

punjab Updated: Dec 09, 2017 09:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh International Airport,Gold seized,Gold redcovery
(Representative Image)

Customs officials on Friday seized 2.92 kg gold, worth Rs 80 lakh, concealed in a vacuum cleaner that was being carried by a Delhi-based man, who landed at the Chandigarh International Airport on a flight from Dubai.

This is the biggest gold recovery at the airport since the commencement of international operations here in September last year.

Moreover, it is first such instance of a smuggler trying to sneak in gold by concealing it in an electronic appliance.

“Using appliances for gold smuggling is common at the Delhi and Mumbai airports but it was first such case in Chandigarh,” said a customs official, on the condition of anonymity. “The smuggler was caught because of the alertness of the baggage handling team and customs officials.”

Earlier, gold has been seized from coffee mugs, lunch box and even inside the human body. Officials said smugglers have been trying new ways to conceal gold, hoping to get through checking.

Accused a conduit

An official said the gold was not being smuggled in form of bricks, but had been used to forge internal parts of the appliance.

He said the passenger was carrying the vacuum cleaner in his check-in baggage.

“We have general instructions to check appliances of passengers retuning from abroad. During the X-ray scan, we found an appliance inside his baggage,” he said.

Upon this, the passenger’s body language changed, and the officials’ suspicion became stronger when the vacuum cleaner did not function properly, he said. On dismantling the appliance, gold was recovered.

“The accused has been arrested after the seizure and the matter is being probed.” he said.

Although the customs officials did not reveal his identity, they said he is 30-year-old and his family is into farming.

However, they said he was just a conduit and efforts are on to find the smugglers for whom he worked.

Officials said with surveillance being much stricter at airports in metropolitan cities, smugglers find it is easier to sneak in contraband through airports at tier-two cities.

Gold smuggling from Dubai is rampant because of the price difference. Moreover, gold from Dubai is more pure. Smugglers are also able to evade customs duty.

First Published: Dec 09, 2017 09:43 IST