Bengaluru: In a major gold seizure at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru, the Customs sleuths busted two passengers attempting to innovatively smuggle in over 4 kg of the yellow metal worth about Rs.1.3 crore last Thursday.
Sources with the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Bengaluru Customs said their team intercepted a passenger who disembarked from Emirates flight EK 568 (from Dubai) at Bengaluru airport at 2.46 am. Inspection of his luggage revealed a medium-sized red bench vice machine with unusual rivets. Customs official dismantled the device only to find two gold bars and four cut pieces of gold, all covered in black insulation tape. The smugglers had meticulously covered the gold under 7.6 kg of thick iron sheets to avoid detection.
The smuggler identified as a native of Chamarajanagar was in possession of 3.6 kg gold worth over Rs.1.1 crore in the Indian market. The gold was seized and the suspect arrested and questioned further, Customs sources said.
Gold strips in trolley bag
Meanwhile, another AIU team combing the passenger arrival area intercepted a man — identified as a Bengalurean — who landed in an Air India flight from Muscat, Oman via Hyderabad at 4.59 am on Thursday.
Sensing something amiss about the trolley bag he was carrying as part of his hand luggage, sleuths inspected it thoroughly. Soon they discovered the handle of the trolley had extra aluminium-like strips affixed, which was found to be made of solid gold coated with mercury. Two more buckles of the bag coated in black were also crafted of solid gold.
Customs officials found a total of eight pieces coated with mercury and pasted on to the trolley to avoid detection by airport officials. A total of 358.4 gm of gold worth Rs.11.7 lakh was found from the trolley bag of the passenger who was booked, sources added.