Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lucknow: Customs nab Moradabad man from Amausi for smuggling gold worth Rs 2.09 crore in undergarment

Lucknow: Ahead of dhanteras and diwali, in a major crackdown against gold smugglers --- the customs department of Chaudhary Charan Singh international airport caught a passenger with undeclared gold worth Rs 2.09 crore, which he was carrying inside his undergarment.

Hailing from Moradabad, the passenger had landed with GoAir flight (G8 6451) at Amausi based airport from Riyadh on Wednesday late night along with 33 gold biscuits.

Niharika Lakha, the deputy commissioner of customs Lucknow said, "While frisking for the suspicious object by security personnel, the metal detector raised alarm around passenger’s abdomen area. After a thorough inspection, our team recovered 3849.12 grams of gold that the passenger had not declared and was allegedly smuggling into the country under his undergarment. The gold biscuits were taped into a black pouch."

"The passenger used to work as carpenter in Riyadh and had returned to India after spending five years in there. During interrogation, he claimed that a man contacted him in Riyadh via his acquaintance and offered to pay for his return ticket on condition to smuggle the gold biscuits. Had the passenger been able to pass through security check at Amausi, he would have delivered the gold to another person waiting for him outside the airport. The smuggling racket left no lose ends, hence the passenger was not given any information as who would had contacted him outside airport," added Lakha.

According to customs, the seized gold worth is Rs 2,09,77,704.

Customs officials claimed, “Majority of gold smuggled into India is done from middle eastern countries. Since the flight operations have resumed, there is a sudden surge in the illegal activities. There are high possibilities that customs and other security agencies of airports based in Middle East nations are involved in the racket.”

“Most of the apprehended passengers are courier to smuggle gold into India. They are lured for free air tickets and some cash for the service. The actual kingpin never comes into light. In rare of the rare case, we are able to catch a person who is involved in gold smuggling for himself in order to make hefty profit,” added official.

The accused passenger arrested on Wednesday night was presented to a judicial magistrate on Thursday and sent for 14 days remand.

17/09/20 Arvind Chauhan/Times of India

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