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Updated: March 6, 2014 11:58 IST

It’s an unending haul of gold at RGIA

M. Srinivas
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Nearly 50 kg gold seized from 75 passengers smuggling it in the last five months

So irresistible is the allure of gold, that it makes people do crazy things like trying to hide the yellow metal in their shoe soles, inner wear, abdomen and even the rectum. These were some of the ingenious way of smuggling it out of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad.

In the last five months, nearly 50 kilos of gold in the form of biscuits, bars, chains and bracelets were recovered from over 75 passengers, including women by the customs officials.

On Wednesday itself, cases were registered against seven passengers for carrying 3.74 kg pure gold concealed in rectangular pipes of a suitcase base and also mobile phone chargers. Three women passengers among them were carrying 1.64 kg gold concealed in their garments and in the lining of suitcase metal frame.

The total value of smuggled gold in these seven cases is estimated to be Rs.1.16 crore, customs authorities said. Apparently, the authorities were successful in nabbing those trying to smuggle in gold through profiling of passengers like studying their behavioural patterns, details in the passport, origin of passengers, travelling frequency and detailed examination of their baggage.

“Inputs given by personnel of Customs Overseas Intelligence Unit are also helping us trace the smugglers,” a senior official said. Officers posted at Dubai, London, France, USA and China get information about purchases of more than 10 kg of gold and it is passed on to either the customs officials or the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

Such precise information helped in catching a passenger hailing from Kerala when he brought 500 grams of gold hidden in his rectum on the Dubai flight. Investigations revealed that smugglers are getting gold from Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia.

“As the yellow metal is pure and its price is less when compared to India, most prefer to get gold from Dubai,” the official disclosed. Hefty commission is also being paid for smuggling gold to the city, he said, stating that a passenger is paid Rs. 50,000 commission for smuggling one kilo of gold.

Customs Assistant Commissioner Kalyan Revella said 47 cases were booked against the smugglers in the past five months. “We are leaving no stone unturned to catch the smugglers though they are adopting different methods to bring gold,” he said. If the value of the gold is less than Rs.20 lakh, no arrests will be made. The passenger has to pay some fine and the duty fee applicable. But, if the value is more than Rs.20 lakh, they will be detained, the official added.

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