By Paul Ploumis 15 Jul 2015 Last updated at 08:00:02 GMT
MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): The Customs officials at Mumbai International Airport in India have detained senior security officer of Etihad Airways for alleged involvement in gold smuggling. The employee, in charge of security of all outbound Etihad flights out of the airport, was caught red-handed while taking over smuggled gold from a passenger.
According to Customs officials, the incident took place Monday morning around 8.25 AM after Etihad flight EY 212 from Abu Dhabi landed at the airport. One of the passengers had gold bars concealed in cigarette packet. He later handed over the packet to the security officer, Deepak Golani, who was supposed to take the yellow metal out of the airport.
The Airport Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials, who spotted the officer taking the gold from the flier, arrested both of them at the airport’s arrival hall. Initially, the officer denied having any connection with the passenger. However, call records and message history on his phone revealed the close connection between them. Also, gold bars and biscuits weighing over 1.34 kilograms and valued at over Rs 33 lakh were recovered. Upon questioning, the flier admitted that he had handed over gold to the same officer on four earlier occasions.
AIU officials noted that Golani was the third ranking official at Etihad India drawing handsome salary and perks. Being the chief security in-charge of flights, he had unrestricted access to all parts of the airports. The officials noted that he has misused his official powers by indulging in cheap act of smuggling gold. Meantime, Etihad Airways spokesperson noted that it will never tolerate any act of any employee in breach of international rules and regulations. He further extended full co-operation to airport authorities in investigating the matter.
This is not the first gold smuggling incident that involved top airlines staff. Earlier this year, a flight attendant belonging to Jet Airways flight was arrested at Mumbai International Airport while attempting to clear nearly 4 kilograms of gold and 145 carats diamonds.