In a new modus operandi, gold smugglers are now bringing in the yellow metal in the form of thin paper. The gold foils are packed in cardboard boxes to avoid being detected by the customs officials at airports.
The modus operandi was detected by customs officials when they caught a passenger who arrived from Dubai by an Emirate flight on May 4. “The gold was being carried in bonafide baggage by a passenger along with toys and some other articles. On scanning the baggage, we found some metal in the bag, placed between cardboard sheets. The gold sheets were retrieved after cutting the cardboard,” said the official.Customs officials discovered that a gang of gold smugglers lured job aspirants from India to Dubai on the pretext of getting them jobs. “After arranging their stay at a hotel, they send the job aspirant, especially women, back to India telling them that they will send the documents soon. The job aspirants are given a parcel with gold concealed inside and asked to hand it over to persons waiting outside the airport,” said the customs official. He added that the gang would take a picture of the passenger and send it to the receiver in Hyderabad for identification purposes.
Customs officials who caught the passenger along with 1.1 kg of gold at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport with the assistance of Special Operations Team, caught six more persons, including four who came from Kerala. The gang admitted that they had so far helped carry five consignments in the last one week and send the gold to Mumbai.In a separate case, officials seized gold weighing about 600 gm dumped in the garbage bins of flight EK 528 at the RGIA. According to officials, on receiving information about gold being dumped into garbage disposal bags in the flight, the All Intelligence Unit team with the help of the cleaning staff seized the bags and scanned them. Five gold bars were found in one bag.
“Some passengers who had arrived in the flight might have dumped the gold in the bag and some others were supposed to collect it and hand it over to the smugglers,” he said.In the third case, the officials seized 1,600 gm of gold from a ground staff worker at the RGIA. According to officials, the helper working with Visskan Aviation Private Limited was asked by a Hyderabad based gold smuggler to help bring in gold kept in the flights by the passengers cum carriers. Officials seized 1.632 kg of gold from a bag the man was carrying. Enquiries revealed that the man had abstained from duty for last one month.
The total worth of the gold seized in three cases is about 1.25 crore.