Customs foils smuggling bid at Chennai airport, seizes gold worth Rs 7.6 crore, arrests 10

Some of the 10 arrested passengers were also found hiding the gold paste inside their rectum, customs said.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

CHENNAI: In a major operation spanning over 24 hours, customs officials at the Chennai international airport busted a coordinated smuggling racket and seized 12.1 kg gold worth Rs 7.58 crore from 10 passengers who had arrived on three separate flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Customs had received information about the operation from the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI), sources said. Three separate cases have been booked and all 10 passengers were arrested, they added.

While 10 gold chains (24K purity) weighing 4.65 kg and worth Rs 2.9 crore were found concealed in the socks and undergarments of some carriers, gold in paste form was found concealed in undergarments of others. Some of the 10 arrested passengers were also found hiding the gold paste inside their rectum, customs said. The paste weighed 7.45 kg gold and was worth Rs 4.7 crore.

According to sources, all the carriers arrested are men who are in the age group of 20-40, while one is as young as 19. The gold was also found in capsule form and hidden inside the rectum. One of the arrested had concealed it inside a specially designed belt worn on his jeans, sources added.

Sources in customs said that one was arrested in the early hours of Monday, five on Monday morning and the rest in the early hours of Tuesday. All the passengers said that they had been asked to carry the gold by a known person in Dubai/Abu Dhabi and hand it over to a receiver in Chennai, sources said.

They were paid sums ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 for smuggling the gold, sources added. All 10 passengers were produced before the Alandur district court and sent to Puzhal prison.

Sources at the Chennai airport said that this is one of the biggest gold seizures from a group of passengers who were likely to be part of the same smuggling syndicate. Around three weeks ago, Customs had seized 12.6 kg gold worth Rs 8.5 crore from a Sri Lankan transit passenger and a ground-handling staff of Indigo airlines. Both of them were arrested.

Customs officer booked for demanding bribe

Chennai: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of CBI has booked a case against a customs officer for demanding a bribe of Rs 2,000 to clear a file for import of goods by a Chennai based company. According to the FIR booked on June 20, CBI said that customs preventive officer Manish Mittal had demanded the bribe to clear a file regarding the import of glass by Mirthikkashree Enterprises, a company based in Ernavur in North Chennai, on June 4.

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