Sunday, February 13, 2022

Flyer held with gold worth Rs 34.8 lakh for smuggling

Pune: Attempts to smuggle gold continues at the city airport despite scheduled international flight operations remaining suspended because of Omicron infections.

Pune customs officers on February 7 arrested a flyer for attempting to smuggle 708 grams of gold bars and pieces, collectively worth Rs34. 81 lakh, on a special international flight operating at present. He had concealed the gold in his shoes, the customs authorities said on Friday.

“The arrest was made based on a tip-off from officers of the air intelligence unit of the Pune customs. On interrogation, the passenger confessed that he had travelled from Dubai to Ahmedabad in an international flight, concealed the gold in the aircraft, and then retrieved it when he was travelling from Ahmedabad to Pune in the same aircraft. The passenger was arrested under the provisions of the Customs Act for his attempt to smuggle gold into the country,” a customs official said.

Scheduled international flight operations were to start from India from December 15 last year but was postponed after the emergence of the Omicron variant. At present, the Pune airport has a SpiceJet’s international flight flying to Sharjah thrice a week. Before the pandemic, the airport had two flights to Dubai — one operated by SpiceJet and the other by Air India Express.

In the past, customs officials had cracked several cases of smuggling gold and foreign currency carried out on the two flights.

12/02/22 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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