33-kg gold haul seized at KIA was camouflaged into 88 pumps

33-kg gold haul seized at KIA was camouflaged into 88 pumps

Rs 32.4 crore worth of 24-carat gold concealed in dozens of hand-held pumps was seized at Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi airports between December 19 and 21. The pumps had arrived from Dubai as import cargo consignments.

In Bengaluru, the customs'  Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) seized about  33 kg of gold from 88 pumps on December 20. The haul is valued at about Rs 10 crore.  Just a day before, customs officials at the New Delhi airport seized 25 kg of gold. Mumbai reported the biggest haul - 50 kg - on December 21, a senior customs official told DH.  

In all the three cases, gold was concealed in bearings inside vacuum and fuel pumps. These bearings were covered with grease and given a coat of metallic paint to camouflage the gold, the official added.  

The AIU at the Kempegowda International Airport seized four consignments of pumps  - two of them had  24 vacuum pumps (12 in each consignment) and the other two 64 fuel pumps (32 in each).  

AIU officials went through the Air Waybill or AWB (a document used by the customs to process courier consignments) and the Import Export Code (IEC) of the consignments. When they disassembled the pumps, the finding left them shell-shocked.  

Further enquiries revealed that the importer was one  Suryavanshi, from Thane, Mumbai. Customs officials informed their Mumbai airport counterparts who, acting quickly, seized  50 kg of gold the next day. When customs officials went to Suryavanshi's Thane address in the guise of deliverymen, they found it to be fictitious.  

The importer's point of contact in Bengaluru was one Ravi, from Kempegowda Nagar. When a team went looking for him in the guise of courier boys, they found a locked house. The homeowner denied that anybody named Ravi was living there as a tenant.  

The customs official said:  "Gold smugglers wait only for a few hours once the flight lands for the delivery of the consignments. If the delivery gets delayed, they become suspicious and change their base. They then keep a watch on the addresses if any consignment comes there."

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Delhi, will investigate all the three cases.

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