Passenger smuggling in gold dozes off, caught with 5 kg bars
Five kg of gold bars, valued at Rs 1.40 crore, were seized from a passenger who arrived here from Sharjah by the customs officials.
The passenger, Vafsamaraikyar Habeer of Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, who had kept the gold bars in his laptop bag when he embarked the flight, had planned to tape the gold bars on his leg inside the toilet just before the flight landed at Kochi.
However, his plans went haywire as he dozed off and woke up after the flight reached Kochi airport at 0520 AM yesterday and the passengers had started disembarking, customs sources said.
The flight was to leave on its domestic leg for Chennai and the man then hid the bars under the seat using adhesive tapes to stick them. It is suspected that the accused must have passed on the seat number to the consignor who had entrusted him the gold bars.
Customs officials suspect that the plan was that the gold bars would be taken out after the flight reached Chennai when the passengers are not screened. However, a fellow passenger is said to have tipped-off the customs officials who conducted a search and made the seizure.
The passenger, who was arrested before he left Kochi airport, was booked under the Customs Act, 1962.
Customs officials claimed it to be the biggest haul from a single passenger in Kerala.
Earlier, customs officials had seized 18 kg of gold bars worth over Rs 4 crore on different occasions from the airport.