Smuggler held at airport with Rs 1.6 cr worth gold

6.42 kg bars found tied in zipper belt on his waist

A man was arrested with smuggled gold bars worth over Rs 1.60 crore by customs officials at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Ram Niwas Verma, 48, a native of Nangloi, was intercepted by officials after his arrival from Dubai here on Sunday.

“On detailed examination of his baggage and personal search, 6.42 kg gold bars were found tied in the zipper belt on his waist,” said Neeta lall Butalia, commissioner of customs, IGIA.

The total value of the gold bars is Rs 1.67 crore, she said.

According to preliminary investigation, customs officials found that Verma has been a frequent flier to foreign destinations. “Further investigation is on,” another customs official said.

It is one of the biggest seizures of gold from an individual in the past five years at IGI Airport. This is also the first big catch after the finance ministry earlier this month raised import duty on gold by 2 per cent to 8 per cent in a bid to rein in demand of the yellow metal.

On June 9, customs officials had seized gold worth at least Rs 70 lakh in three separate incidents at the airport and arrested two persons.

In the first case, UP resident Abdul Sattar was arrested for allegedly smuggling gold worth about Rs 19.64 lakh into the country. Sattar, who hails from Khalapar in Muzaffarnagar district, used a unique modus operandi. He was carrying TV and food processor packed in cardboard boxes, which were punched with 109 gold pins weighing 755 gm.

In another incident on the same day, 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.

Patel had arrived from Dubai. He was found concealing gold jewellery inside knee caps tied to his legs.

In the third incident, four unclaimed gold bars, weighing about 448 gm and wrapped in yellow paper, were recovered from a washroom near the international transfer check-in area at the airport.

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