Passenger from Sharjah detained; 1.42 kg concealed in many ways

Customs officials seized gold estimated to weigh 1.42 kg and worth about Rs. 40 lakh, from a passenger from Sharjah at the Coimbatore airport on Thursday.

The passenger, aged around 30 and a native of Kerala, had travelled to Coimbatore on the Air Arabia flight from Sharjah that landed here at 3.30 a.m.

Customs officials said that the passenger was stopped and his baggage searched, based on intelligence inputs.

The gold had been concealed in various ways. The officials said aluminium-coated 24-carat gold moulded in the form of beading, inch-tape roll and belt buckle were found.

The officials said 109 gm gold, with aluminium coating to avoid detection, was in an inch-tape case, nearly 120 gm in the shape of a horse shoe in the watch that the passenger was wearing, another 109 gm as the belt buckle and the rest as two rows of beading inside the suitcase.

The seizure was made by a team led by Deputy Commissioner (Customs) Hanumantha Rao.

The other members were four superintendents, four inspectors and three havildars.

Mr. Rao and Additional Commissioner of Customs Minu Pramod told presspersons that this was the first seizure of gold at the Coimbatore Airport. The officials detained the passenger and were questioning him. What was interesting was the way the gold had been concealed, said Ms. Pramod.

Officials also pointed out that the recent changes in the gold duty structure had brought down gold imports. And, with the first instance of a gold smuggling attempt having come to light, vigil has been stepped up at the airport here that has two international flights, one to Singapore and another to Sharjah.

Customs officials at the Coimbatore Airport have so far seized Ketamine on two or three occasions. On one occasion, they seized high value cameras.

Coimbatore Airport earlier had three international flights to Singapore, Sri Lanka and Sharjah.

The flight to Sri Lanka has been withdrawn.

There had been four instances of Ketamine seizures at the airport (total of 60.25 kg) since 2008.

In one incident, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Customs re-called the flight to Singapore immediately after departure and seized the drug.

In another incident, there was a huge haul of cameras and cellular phones worth Rs. 1.5 crore.

In 2011, the officials seized ornamental fish worth Rs. 1 lakh.

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