KASARAGOD: In the biggest gold seizure in decades, Customs officials seized 15.5kg of gold worth Rs 6.2 crore at Bekal in Kasaragod district. Two persons were arrested and an SUV was impounded along with the gold, said Customs assistant commissioner E Vikas.
“This is the biggest gold seizure for the Kannur division of Customs since 1988,” he said. In 1988, customs officials had seized 1,600 gold biscuits in Irrikur in Kannur district.
The Bekal seizure was based on a tip-off, said Vikas. A team of four officials led by Customs superintendent PP Rajeev set up a bandobast at Bekal toll gate and waited for the white Hyundai Creta, registered in Maharashtra.
“We were tracking it from Thalaserry,” said an official. Once it crossed Kanhangad, the officials got ready to stop them at Bekal. “The toll gate had multiple humps on the road and it helped to slow down the car,” said the official.
When the Creta stopped to pay the toll, officials took over the vehicle. The two persons, from Sangli in Maharashtra, were taken into custody. The officials brought the car to the Customs office in Kasaragod. “We checked the vehicle for 30 minutes before we could locate two secret cavities under the front seats,” said another official.
The secret compartments –known as traps in automotive slang – would spring open only if a pin was inserted in the tray hole hidden at another location. The floor of the car was covered with a mat. The officials removed the mat to find the traps under the front seats. The pin was hidden in the storage for sunglasses.
After pressing open the traps, Customs officials found two chains and 17 bars of gold weighing 15.5kg.
Customs officials did not reveal the identity of those who were carrying the gold. They said the gold was surely smuggled in from foreign countries.
Smuggled in from abroad
This is the biggest gold seizure for the Kannur division of Customs since 1988
In the secret compartments of the luxury SUV, Customs officials found two chains and 17 bars of gold
The smugglers may have used Kozhikode or Kannur airport to smuggle in the gold in the form of a paste. They solidified the gold and were taking it to Mumbai when they were waylaid at Bekal