Monday, June 12, 2017

Gold rush again at CSIA, 4 smugglers nabbed

Mumbai: In separate incidents over the past two days, Customs officers at the international airport recovered gold worth ₹54 crore from an inbound Bangkok flight, and nabbed a second-time smuggler with gold worth ₹14 lakh in his footwear. In the latter case, the accused, a Sri Lankan national, had stopped near the Green Channel to greet Customs officers who had caught him the first time.

On the intervening night of June 9 and June 10, passengers Vijay Jagdish and Mufatlal were intercepted after alighting from a Bangkok-Mumbai Air India flight (AI 331). While Mr. Jagdish was identified based on profiling as he was a frequent traveller, Mufatlal came under the scanner as he was in the company of the former. Natives of Rajasthan and working in the gold industry, both accused had ensured their airline bookings had different PNRs to avoid suspicion.

After no gold was recovered in a search of the suspects, it was decided to search the aircraft they had arrived in. “Nine cut pieces of gold bars totally weighing 1.823 kg and valued at ₹54 lakh was recovered from seats 33J and 34J, which had been occupied by the duo. The gold was concealed in the hollow pipe below their seats. Both were arrested,” Deputy Commissioner of Customs (AIU) Pradnyasheel Jumle said.

On the intervening night of June 10 and June 11, Sri Lankan passport holder Mohamed Sufiyan Nizamdeen, 43, was intercepted based on profiling on arrival from Colombo by SriLankan Airline flight UL 141 in the Arrivals hall after he cleared himself through the Green Channel.

On Sunday morning, Mr. Nazamdeen, a textile merchant, stopped when he spotted the Customs officers to greet them, who examined his baggage and found five gold bars weighing 500 gm and valued at ₹14.75 lakh. The gold bars were cleverly concealed in a cavity specially made in the sole of his footwear. He has been booked, officers said.

In a third instance, based on profiling, Nasima Gafur Maniyar, holding an Indian passport, was intercepted on her arrival from Hong Kong by Air India flight AI 315. She was booked after a personal search resulted in the recovery of Iridium powder weighing 300 gm and valued at ₹7,00,000 concealed in a packet in her rectum. Iridium powder is used by goldsmiths for adulterating gold to add more weight to it while melting gold.
12/06/17 Aditya Anand/The Hindu