Eleven passengers who arrived in Hyderabad on a Vande Bharat Mission flight have been detained by Customs officials on charges of allegedly smuggling gold. A flight from Saudi Arabia’s Dammam landed at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at around 6 pm Thursday and the passengers were detained at around 7.30 pm, said officials.
The passengers were apprehended at the airport based on suspicion and subsequent passenger profiling. According to customs officials, they had concealed the gold bars in the inner pocket of the trousers they were wearing. The seized gold bars, 28 in number, weighed about 3.11 kg and are valued at Rs 1.66 crores, said officials.
Customs officials told IndianExpress.com the suspected the intention was smuggling. “The travellers were migrant labourers belonging to different districts of Telangana. Most of them lost their jobs and were returning to the country. We suspect smugglers had handed over gold to them in return for their flight tickets and a commission of Rs 5,000 or Rs 10,000. We are investigating the matter.”
A few days ago, a passenger at RGIA was caught with a piece of gold, weighing around 70 gram and valued at around Rs 3 lakh, concealed inside his wrist watch.
In a similar catch, customs officials in coordination with Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel detected five passengers who were trying to smuggle out sandalwood sticks. Sandalwood, other than in the form of oil or artefacts, are prohibited for export without a valid licence from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). The passengers were scheduled to travel from Hyderabad to Khartoum, Sudan. Sandalwood weighing about 78.5 kg was seized. Further investigation is underway.
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