The Customs department has arrested two persons at Terminal-3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) for allegedly trying to smuggle in 2.6 kg gold worth Rs 77.65 lakh concealed inside a papaya.
“A slice of the papaya had been cut out, the gold placed inside and the slice had been put back in place with the help of transparent adhesive tape,” Govind Garg, Deputy Commissioner of Customs at the IGIA, said Monday.
The two accused, who were returning from Bangkok, were carrying an assortment of fruits, including apple and guava, in handbags, said sources.
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They were intercepted Sunday evening after they crossed the Green Channel, sources added. The accused are in their thirties and residents of Gurdaspur in Punjab, said sources.
Commissioner of Customs (IGI Airport) Sanjay Mangal said, “A detailed examination of their baggage and personal search was conducted and it resulted in the recovery of gold.”
A source privy to the investigation said, “The accused had gone to Bangkok on October 6. After questioning, they disclosed they were working as gold carriers and after procuring the goods from Bangkok, they were selling it in India to their customers, including some jewellers. The gold was seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 and both the persons were arrested under Section 104 of the Customs Act, 1962.”
Authorities are investigating the antecedents of the accused.
Garg said the accused had arrived at T3 in a Thai Airways flight.
“After sustained questioning, it came to light that the owner of the gold had given the packet to his accomplice in the same flight and asked him to avoid the Red Channel and to pass through the Green Channel,” said Garg.
The Customs Act empowers imposition of heavy penalties on passengers who attempt to walk through the Green Channel with prohibited, restricted or dutiable goods; and misdeclare their goods at the Red Channel counter.