Customs officials at the Mumbai airport seized 24 gold chains weighing around nine kg from a passenger on Thursday. Upon frisking the passenger, Customs officials found 24 crude gold chains, some strapped around his waist and others in his trouser pockets. Bhupathy Kannan had arrived from Bangkok around 12.30 am on Thursday.
Customs officials said Kannan was intercepted based on suspicion as he was a frequent traveller. “Kannan was on the frequent flier list. Although this was only his second visit to Mumbai, he used to frequent South East Asian countries from Chennai. We stopped him based on profiling and nabbed the gold – our biggest case so far this year,” said a senior Customs official.
The value of the gold chains, worth Rs 2.32 crore, is even more than the value of gold seized by them over two days last week, which amounted to Rs 2.08 crore, said officials.
In 2015, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has seen a sudden spurt in gold smuggling cases, said officials.
“We were expecting the cases to go up right after the holiday season as there is a dip in ticket prices. As long as there is a 10 per cent duty on importing gold, smuggling will continue. Moreover, the wedding season will be on till March and there would be a rush to smuggle gold before the budget session is on, with the indications from the finance ministry about possible change in policy,” said a
So far in the current fiscal, Customs has seized nearly 775 kg of gold.