Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Four busts at IGI airport: Gold smuggling, now in fruit drink mixture

New Delhi: For the last two months, 30-year-old Sahansha had been desperately looking for an opportunity to return to his village in Rajasthan from Riyadh. He had landed in Abu Dhabi with high hopes, but had soon realised that he had been cheated on the pretext of a job.

Then he got an offer: He would get Rs 8,000 and a ticket to India, but would have to carry along a packet with a powdered fruit drink mixture. In reality, though, the packet contained 695 grams of gold — in the form of granules. Clueless, he landed in Delhi — only to be apprehended by Customs officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday.

The seizure is one of four cases at IGI airport in the past month of gold granules being found inside such packets. “Gold granules mixed with fruit drink powder are hard to detect. Smugglers mix them in a way that it’s impossible to spot it with the naked eye. But customs officials segregate the two powders using sieves of different sizes, and detect it in an X-ray scanner,” a senior official said.

Customs officials told The Indian Express that Sahansha was detained soon after he landed. “He initially claimed he was a businessman and was travelling abroad to promote his business, but officials went on to frisk his belongings. The gold granules were detected in an X-ray scanner. He kept complaining they are wasting their time, but after a few minutes, gold granules started pouring out from an orange packet,” an official said.
13/03/18 Mahender Singh Manral/Indian Express