By Paul Ploumis 06 Jul 2015 Last updated at 09:28:55 GMT
MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): A former Airport Immigration officer and his relatives were arrested by the Special Investigation and Intelligence Branch (SIIB) of India Customs on Sunday for allegedly smuggling over 1,500 kilograms of gold through Cochin International Airport (CIAL) in southern India.
The 28-year old officer had been on a deputation as Immigration Assistant at the airport from 2011 until April this year. Since November 2013, he had been wrongly using his official power to help an international racket to smuggle huge quantities of gold through the airport. According to Customs officials, the officer used to smuggle the gold out of the airport through the green channel to be handed over to his younger brother. The gold was then brought to their home and later sold to customers by their father.
It is estimated that the brothers and their father have smuggled eight to sixteen kilograms of gold daily. Approximately 1,500 kilograms of gold have been smuggled over this period, customs officials stated. The officer is believed to have amassed around Rs 8 crores as commission during this short period. Investigations revealed that they had used the commission money to buy shopping complex, new residence and luxury cars.
The Customs team headed by the Deputy Commissioner carried out detailed raid at the officer’s residence before his arrest. The raid has led to the arrest of many contract workers at the airport who are believed to be part of the gold smuggling operation. The investigation could also extend to jewellery owners and other individuals who have bought gold from him. The smuggled gold is suspected to have been handed over to a major jewellery group and a few individuals.
Illegal gold trade in India has multiplied several folds during the recent years.