CUSTOMS OFFICIALS have thwarted a fresh bid to smuggle gold at the Chandigarh International Airport by seizing gold biscuits weighing over one kilogram and worth Rs 40 lakh from a Jalandhar resident who arrived from Sharjah. The passenger was arrested and later released on bail. Customs officials said the latest seizure happened on Saturday after the Customs’ intelligence wing officials noticed behaviour of the passenger, who came on Air India flight, while he was passing through the green channel during the Customs check.
The green channel is meant for those passenger who declare that they don’t carry any item which attracts duty. Sources said that the passenger, identified as Harsh, a resident of Jalandhar, didn’t declare the gold and instead passed through the green channel. “We noticed the unusual behaviour and also movement of the passenger. He was questioned and subsequently frisked and gold biscuits were found from his possession. He had kept the gold inside,” a Customs official said.
The Customs official said the gold biscuits were kept beneath his socks. “There were a total of four bars of gold. Two weighing 1 kilogram and the other two weighing approx 350 grams. The market value of the gold is around Rs 40 lakh,” the official said. According to the officials, the passenger revealed during questioning that he was carrying gold for his personal use. He was travelling alone on the flight.
Of late, there have been several such incidents when the Customs officials have seized gold from the passengers arriving in Chandigarh either from Dubai or Sharjah. There are two international flights which operate from Chandigarh International Airport. Customs officials say since the airport is new, the smugglers use different methods to smuggle gold into India. “Our men are keeping a close check on such passengers and we put in efforts to foil such attempts,” said a senior Customs official.