New Delhi : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday lauded the alertness and swift action taken by the Mumbai Airport Customs after officials seized 61 kg gold valued at Rs 32 crore and arrested seven passengers in two different cases.
“Appreciate @mumbaicus3 for your alertness. Your timely action has borne a stunning outcome. Well done,” Tweeted Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Mumbai Airport Customs seized 61 Kg gold valued at Rs 32 Crore and arrested seven passengers in two different cases, said a senior Customs official on Sunday. The official informed that this has been the highest seizure in a single day reported in the history of Mumbai Airport Customs. The arrested persons include five men and two female passengers on Friday.
In the first case, four passengers of Indian nationality who landed from Tanzania were found carrying the smuggled gold in the form of one Kg bars ingeniously concealed in specially designed waist belts with multiple pockets. A total of 53 Kg of gold valued at Rs 28.17 Crore was recovered from the four passengers. The specially designed belts with UAE-made gold bars concealed inside were handed over to the passengers by a person of Sudanese nationality at Doha airport during the transit time.
At Mumbai Airport, based on the continuous monitoring of suspicious flights and building on the data-based analysis from the earlier high-quantum gold and foreign currency seizures, a systematic profiling of suspect passengers was undertaken on sensitive flights from certain places in Africa and the Middle East, read the statement of Customs.
In the recent case of the Foreign Currency seizure of 4.08 crores, the pattern and mode of operation noticed along with profiling of foreign national passengers and extrapolating the patterns led to success in this case. During the operation, four Indian passengers arriving from Doha on Qatar Airways Flight No QR-556 were intercepted. On enquiry, they were found to be coming from Tanzania.
As per the senior customs officials, during the personal search of the said passengers, 53 Kg of Gold was recovered in total.
The gold bars were concealed on their body in a specially designed belt, having multiple pockets, wrapped around their torso.
During the interrogation, all four passengers confessed that they were handed over the gold in transit at the Doha airport by an unknown Sudanese national who had not travelled with them on the flight, said the senior customs officials.
All four passengers have been arrested and remanded to 14 days of judicial custody by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
In another case, based on the intelligence, officers of Mumbai Airport Customs seized 8 Kg gold valued at Rs 3.88 crore from three passengers (one male and two females) arriving from Dubai by Vistara Flight. Gold dust in wax form was found ingeniously concealed in the waistline of the jeans pants worn by the passengers. The three passengers included one lady passenger in her late sixties who were in a wheelchair. All three passengers have been arrested and remanded to judicial custody.