In an indicator of the rise in gold smuggling at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), more than 87 kg gold were seized from passengers in April. However, seizures in the first week of May have already crossed 25 kg. Early on Wednesday morning, four Indian women were held for attempting to smuggle 7.2 kg gold worth Rs 1.86 crore. Officials said three of them had concealed gold in their undergarments, while the fourth had hidden it in a waist belt.
In the first case, officials searched Salma Begam, who arrived from Bangkok and found two gold bars weighing 263 gm and worth Rs 13 lakh in her underwear. “Similarly, we also identified and caught Monalisa Nair, who was smuggling two bars weighing 447 gm worth Rs 11 lakh, and Noor Jahan with two gold bars weighing 370 gm worth Rs 9 lakh. The two women had also arrived from Bangkok,” said Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner, Customs.
He added that all three women were natives of Mumbai and appeared nervous while exiting the airport. The fourth passenger, Versha, wore a specially-designed belt made of cotton, in which she had hidden four gold bars weighing 5.9 kg worth Rs 1.51 crore. “Versha had arrived in the city from Madagascar. After disembarking from the aircraft, she appeared uncomfortable while bending to pick up her luggage. We became suspicious and asked her to step aside for further checks,” said an official.
“We have seized an average of 2.5 kg a day in April. A significant seizure was the one from airport cleaner Ganpat Shinghade, who had attempted to smuggle 5-kg gold from the airport in his work overalls,” said a Customs officials.