Gold smuggling bid lands man in hospital

Gold smuggling bid lands man in hospital

Ever since gold prices started to skyrocket, the Mangalore International Airport have become hyperactive, with smugglers discovering new and unique methods to smuggle the yellow metal, giving a tough time to customs officials. 

Right from hiding gold in underwears to concealing it in food packets and kitchenware, the smugglers have perhaps tried every possible way.

While the customs officials are trying their level best to discover novel ways used by the smugglers, 44-year-old Shashidharan, who arrived in an Air India Express flight from Dubai on January 31, managed to come out of the airport with half a kilogram of gold. His modus operandi was unique. He had swallowed 30 gold pellets. It is said he was promised Rs 2 lakh if he succeeded in smuggling the gold.

A resident of Udhuma in Kasargod, Shashidharan had gone to Dubai on a tourist visa just four days ago, on January 27. Perhaps he was on cloud nine as he was just one step short of becoming richer by Rs 2 lakh.

But, trouble began when he failed to “retrieve” the gold even after four days, despite his best efforts. On the other hand, he developed an acute stomach ache. Left with no choice, he approached KMC Hospital on February 5. Following a checkup, he revealed that he had swallowed gold.

Doctors promptly informed police, who in turn informed the customs officials.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, KMC Medical Superintendent Madhusudhan Upadhyaya said the doctors initially gave laxatives and later tried colonoscopy on Shashidharan. “As both methods failed, the doctors then tried Upper Gastro Intestinal Endoscopy (through mouth) and retrieved 29 of the 30 pellets,” Upadhyaya said, adding that the last one was stuck in the small intestine. Doctors have given Shashidharan a lot of food with fibre content. “If Shashidharan fails to pass the remaining pellet, then the doctors may have to operate his abdomen,” he said.

The police and the customs officials are waiting in the hospital for Shashidharan to clear his bowels.

Meanwhile, sources in the customs department said Shashidharan may not be arrested, as a person is arrested only if he smuggles gold worth more than Rs 20 lakh. The value of gold smuggled by Shashidharan is approximately Rs 13 lakh (about 430 grams).

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