Customs officials seize gold worth Rs 70L at airport

Two nabbed in separate cases, unclaimed bags found in toilet

Gold worth at least Rs 70 lakh was seized by customs officials in three separate incidents at Indira Gandhi International Airport here and two persons were arrested in this connection.

Customs officials said they found gold bars weighing 448 gms outside a washroom at the airport, which may have been dumped following tightening of vigil. They said CCTV footage was being examined to find the culprits.

In the first case, Uttar Pradesh-resident Abdul Sattar was arrested for allegedly smuggling gold worth about Rs 19.64 lakh into the country, commissioner (customs) at the airport Neeta Lall Butalia said in a statement on Monday.

Sattar, who hails from Khalapar in Muzaffarnagar, adopted a unique modus operandi, Butalia said.

He was carrying TV and food processor packed in cardboard boxes, which were punched with 109 silver grey-coloured pins.

“The silver grey metallic staple pins were found to be made of gold, weighing 755 gms. The total value of the gold has been appraised at Rs 19.64 lakh by the jewellery expert appraiser,” she said.

Sattar was arrested and the gold was seized, the official said.

In another incident, 47-year-old Abdul Rahim Badshah Patel, resident of Karnataka, was arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle 1.9 kg of gold jewellery worth about Rs 38 lakh into the country, she said.

Patel, who hails from Bhatkal, was intercepted by the officials after he arrived from Dubai on Sunday, Butalia said.

On detailed examination of his baggage and frisking, the gold jewellery was found concealed inside knee caps tied to his legs. The gold was seized and Patel was arrested, she said.

In the third incident, four unclaimed gold bars, weighing about 448 gms and wrapped in yellow paper, were recovered from washroom near international transfer check-in area, Butalia said, adding the gold bars were seized.

“The total value of the gold seizures is more than Rs 70 lakh,” she said.

This is the first big catch after the finance ministry had on June 5 raised import duty on gold by two per cent to eight per cent in a bid to rein in demand for the yellow metal.

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