In four separate incidents spread over two days, Customs officials have arrested six passengers from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA), Ahmedabad while attempting to smuggle gold into the country and seized six kg gold from their possession.
“In four different incidents, six passengers were intercepted by the officers of the Customs Department, SVPIA, Ahmedabad,” a Customs official said.
Officials seized 5.94 kg of gold, and the market value of the yellow metal was estimated to be Rs 1.62 crore.
In the first case involving three passengers on Thursday, Syed Siffath Raza, a resident of Alipur in Chikkabalapur in Karnataka, came as a domestic passenger from Delhi. His accomplices Mir Roshan Hyder and Syed Nabi Reza, also residents of Alipur, had returned from Singapore by Singapore Airlines flight.
As domestic passengers don’t require Custom clearance of goods, Hyder and Reza handed over gold bars weighing a kilogramme each to Raza in the toilet to clear goods without duty payment. The trio were put under arrest by Custom officials. The second incident also came to light on Thursday when five gold bars each weighing 100 grams, concealed and wrapped in a black cello tape, were recovered from the possession of one Mohammed Firoz.
On Friday morning, Sayed Roshan Ali, also hailing from Alipur, was caught with 2.5 kilogrammes of unaccounted gold on his arrival from Dubai. The gold bars were found to be hidden in the pocket of his jeans.
Zaheda Begum was arrested on Friday morning after she arrived from Dubai. On frisking, eight gold bars (weighing 116.6 grams) wrapped in polythene bags were recovered from her undergarments.
In all, officials seized 5.94 kg gold, and the market value of the seized consignment was estimated to be Rs 1.62 crore.
The seizure of yellow metal and arrest of passengers by Customs official comes in the backdrop of seizure of 25 kg gold, worth Rs 6.75 crore, by sleuths of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Surat on Wednesday from the cavity of a luxury car near a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Sachin in Surat. Two persons were also arrested in this incident.
Gold smuggling has been spurred by the hike in customs duty on the yellow metal announced by the Union government last year. The import duty on the metal was raised to contain India's Current Account Deficit (CAD) and the metal's increasing imports.
Further investigation was on in all the cases.