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Tamil Nadu: DRI sleuths nab an airline crew and passenger; seize gold paste weighing 2.5 kg 

Usually, the smuggling activity would be high during April and May.

Published: 18th April 2022 03:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2022 03:04 PM   |  A+A-

Gold smuggling

Image for representational purpose only. ( Express Illustration)

Express News Service

TIRUCHY: The sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Sunday night conducted a surprise inspection at Tiruchy International Airport and nabbed a cabin crew member of the Air India Express (AIE) Singapore flight and a passenger for smuggling.

Sources said that after the flight landed at Tiruchy airport at 7 pm the crew member, Vinod Kumar, and passenger Bakrudeen were carrying gold in paste form. The intelligence officials caught them during the inspection and recovered gold paste weighing about 2.5 kg from them.

The DRI team conducted the chemical test of the seized material at night and found they were carrying gold worth about Rs 1 crores.

The DRI team has recorded their arrest and launched a detailed inquiry about them. Last November, DRI busted a similar attempt and caught another cabin crew member of AIE’s Dubai flight for smuggling. In that case, too, the cabin crew was carrying gold in paste form.

This year, the customs busted two novel smuggling attempts in which gold paste was found concealed inside the aircraft. The first incident happened in January and gold in paste form was found concealed under the sidewall of the aircraft. The customs busted that smuggling attempt and the seized gold was worth about Rs 41.62 lakhs. The second such smuggling attempt happened in February and gold worth Rs 21.5 lakhs was found inside the panel beneath the seat. Sources said that these two incidents caught the attention of central agencies and intelligence units were keeping an eye on Tiruchy airport.

Usually, the smuggling activity would be high during April and May.

The customs and DRI had several times busted many novel smuggling attempts in which the smugglers were caught with gold concealed inside the toothpaste, cosmetics items and beauty creams. During the pandemic, the smugglers were even found using many desperate expats to smuggle gold.

For instance, between April 2020 and March 2021, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Tiruchy International Airport registered 98 cases for gold smuggling and recovered gold worth Rs 28 crores. Similarly, between April 2021 and July 2021, the AIU in Tiruchy airport registered about 45 gold smuggling cases and recovered gold worth Rs 15 crores.

With international operations getting back on track, sources said that the Customs and other central agencies have increased their alertness.

“Many youngsters are trying to smuggle gold without knowing the consequences. If you are caught with gold worth Rs 20 lakhs and above you would be arrested. Apart from this, your passport would get blacklisted once you are caught for smuggling. This would spoil your career aspirations. Therefore, youngsters and others should not carry any such material for racketers,” an intelligence wing officer said.



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