Monday, March 15, 2021

Pune airport customs nabs two gold smugglers from 2019 case

The air intelligence unit of Pune customs has nabbed two active members of a gold smuggling cartel, initially caught out way back in December 2019 at the city-based Lohegaon International Airport.

On Friday, customs officials arrested the duo at the airport on charges of smuggling gold worth a total of Rs 1.2 crore till date, with the help of the other accused who were caught earlier.

The two latest suspects were identified Ameen Ayub Khan Deshmukh and Abdul Rab Zamane, both residents of Mahad in Raigad. The superintendent of the Air Intelligence Unit Chandra Pratap Singh also produced the duo before the chief judicial magistrate on Friday.

On December 7, 2019, customs officers busted the gold smuggling racket and arrested its mastermind, Mohammad Farhan, with other gang members Zuhair Penkar and Luqman Chimawakar. They were all trying to smuggle gold into India without declaring it at customs. With the gold seized in the latest crackdown, a total of Rs 1.2 crore worth of gold has been recovered from this heist till date.

Customs officials said Farhan hired Zuhair and Luqman to smuggle gold into India, which they did between December 2 and 7, 2019, before getting caught.

Later, the investigation also revealed the names of Ameen and Abdul. A case was registered against them under sections of the Customs Act. While the accused duo applied for bail, special public prosecutor Sandip Ghate opposed the same, saying, “The mastermind, with the collaboration of other accused, smuggled huge amounts of gold into India. The investigation is in progress and known and unknown associates involved in this racket are yet to be apprehended. The accused may try to tamper with the evidence if released on bail.” Thereafter, the court rejected the bail plea and sent them to jail.

15/03/21 Archana More/Pune Mirror

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