HYDERABAD: Stories of smuggled gold seizures, due to their regularity, have ceased to interest the airport staff. However, the story of Zia Unnisa, who was arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Tuesday, is quite different as it sparked a huge interest. Not because she was arrested in one of the biggest gold seizures at RGIA in the last five years, but due to her backstory which came into the limelight, revealing her modus operandi.
It is learnt that Zia Unnisa, a city-based woman who is reportedly a practising advocate in the UK, has smuggled around 350 kg of gold from Dubai to Hyderabad since February 2019. During this period she travelled to Dubai more than 30 times and has smuggled around 11 kg of gold each time, found the DRI officials.
Her travel records indicated that she had travelled to Dubai every fourth day. It is learnt that she made seven trips to Dubai during the month of May alone. Investigation revealed that she herself worked as an operator-cum-carrier and was also indulged in selling the smuggled gold to five jewellers in Hyderabad.
Zia Unnisa who claimed to have completed her education in the UK, possessed business cards that denote she is a member of the Bar Council of the UK and also a journalist working for a monthly magazine in the UK. She was also in possession of a card which claimed that she was a lecturer at a minority institute in Khairatabad.
Zia Unnisa, who is from a family of lawyers, married a US-based businessman, but got divorced some time ago and came back to the city in late January. Though her parents reside in Banjara Hills, she along with her teenage daughter has been staying at a star hotel in the same locality.
Though her daughter did not accompany Zia when she was caught on Tuesday, inquiries revealed that the girl accompanied her at least a couple of times. While officials believe the girl was in know of her mother’s smuggling businesses, investigators are yet to find if she was directly involved in the same.
Zia’s travel records indicated that she had travelled to Dubai every fourth day. It is learnt that she made seven trips to Dubai during the month of May alone