By Paul Ploumis 23 Jun 2015 Last updated at 08:27:51 GMT
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials from Chennai International Airport seized huge quantities of gold at newly commissioned Visakhapatnam International Airport.
MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials from Chennai International Airport seized huge quantities of smuggled gold from passengers at the recently commissioned Visakhapatnam (Vizag) International Airport in southern India. A total of 62 kilograms of gold worth Rs 17 crore were seized.
According to DRI authorities, they had received intelligence information that traders from Tamil Nadu are attempting to smuggle huge quantities of gold through the newly opened Visakhapatnam International Airport, where security mechanisms are not yet fully functional. Following the tip off, DRI officials from Chennai arrived at the Vizag airport on Sunday evening itself.
A set of 20 passengers who arrived from Malaysia via Air Asia flight were found carrying electronic goods. Upon close observation, they found that the gadgets contained gold bars concealed in them. Also, thorough search revealed that gold was concealed in electronic goods carried by a set of 10 people who arrived at the airport from Singapore on a Silk Air flight. In addition, 25 passengers who came from Malaysia were detected for attempting to smuggle gold by concealing bars in electronic goods.
Upon interrogation, the DRI authorities identified that most of the 55 suspected passengers were frequent travelers. Most of them were gold ‘couriers’, whose job is to collect gold from foreign airports and hand over it to specified persons outside Indian airports, in return for commission money. The higher flight frequency between the airport and Southeast Asian destinations and the security loopholes at the airport might have prompted smugglers to make Vizag International airport the base for their operations.
All the arrested 55 passengers will be brought to Chennai for further interrogations.
The latest DRI statistics suggest that a total of 4,400 gold smuggling cases have been reported in the country during 2014-’15. The quantity of seized gold has surged higher by 62% from 2,760 kilograms a year before to 4,480 kilograms during FY ’15.