The air intelligence unit of Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport’s customs department has arrested 28 Turkmenistan nationals, including 22 women, in two separate cases Friday, for allegedly smuggling 19 kg gold worth about Rs 6 crore. Officials suspect that the arrested persons are part of a gold smuggling syndicate, and their other links are being probed.
Additional Commissioner of Customs Amandeep Singh confirmed the arrests and the seizure. Sources said the air intelligence unit received a specific input that a gang of 23 people would arrive at the Delhi airport on a Turkish airlines flight.
“Acting on the input, a message was conveyed to Joint Commissioner Anubha Sinha and a team was formed under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner Anees Cherukunnath. They started checking passengers on Turkish airlines — T-5539 and detained 23 people when they came out through the green channel. A detailed search led to the recovery of the gold,” officials said.
They were carrying gold in the form of multiple rings, intertwined and crudely shaped into chains and bracelets. “They were questioned by Assistant Commissioner S K Pandey and it came to the light that they had visited Delhi earlier too. During their last visit, they had smuggled around 7 kg gold and sold it to a businessman,” sources said.
While the gang of 23 was being questioned, customs officials received another input from the unit that five persons were coming in a Turkmenistan flight, TK716, and were also carrying gold illegally.
“A team was deployed and they were apprehended on arrival. During their frisking, officials found that they too were carrying gold in the form of rings, chain and bracelets,” sources added.
Customs officials later questioned the first group about the five arrested persons and they identified them. The gold was seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962, and all 28 were arrested under Section 104 of the Act.