Customs at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport caught a 34-year-old man on Monday morning for allegedly smuggling 4.3 kg of gold beneath the seat in an Air India flight from Dubai. Further, 200 gm of gold were found on his person when he was searched after alighting from the aircraft, taking the total value to Rs 1.12 crore. The smuggler has alleged that an Air India staffer was to pick up the gold when the aircraft flew to Goa from Mumbai later on Monday.
The man has been identified as Rahmatullah Mohammed Ali Farid, a native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, who had allegedly made several trips to Dubai in the previous year. “He has confessed to having smuggled at least 6 kg of gold and made more than 19 trips to and from Dubai in 2014. However, we cannot say whether he smuggled gold into India during each trip,” said a senior Customs officer.
Farid had allegedly wrapped 37 gold bars in black cloth and slid them inside a horizontal pipe running below three seats on the aircraft. “We had received a tip-off that Farid and searched him after he alighted and found 200 gm of gold. He then led to his seat in the aircraft, where he had concealed the rest of the gold. He said that he was only told to leave the gold wrapped in the cloth below the seat and leave a bit of cloth jutting out. An airline staffer would them pull it out using a screwdriver before the plane left for Goa. Farid, however, has not revealed the identity of the staffer,” the officer said.
In other gold seizures on Monday morning, two passengers on-board in a Jet Airways flight from Dubai were caught for allegedly attempting to smuggle gold. A passenger Ranbir Sharma was held at the airport having concealed 1.1 kg of gold worth Rs 27.93 lakh in diapers.