The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport seized 500 grams of gold bars worth Rs 15 lakh on Saturday night.
The accused who was carrying the gold bars was detained by the investigators. He was grilled throughout the night.
“The man was coming from Bangkok by a Bhutan Airline flight. The investigator had got the information
from a hidden source that the man would descend in Kolkata with the gold. He was caught red-handed,” said an investigator.
The incidents of recovery of gold from passengers in Kolkata airport are frequent. The AIU seized gold
worth Rs 22 lakh a few days ago. Two persons were arrested in these cases.
The security personnel detained a person on the charges of illegally bringing gold jewels, in the wee hours of Saturday. Police said the person was smuggling gold jewels keeping them inside a marker pen.
The accused of the incident descended in Kolkata from Bangkok by a private airways flight on Friday night, but the security personnel doubted his movement.
The accused was caught red handed when his luggage was scanned.
Acting on intelligence inputs, the AIU officers checked trolleys of passengers at the entrance of the Green Channel and recovered the gold bars concealed inside two trolleys left unattended by passengers.
As the festive season is nearing, the big groups hire carriers or even take help from airlines staff to smuggle gold. On many occasions, gold has been recovered from the wash basins of airport restrooms. Now, instead of smuggling a huge quantity at a time, they smuggle them in installments.
The sleuths have also learnt that the modus operandi has also changed. While in the past, gold would be carried in the mouth or rectum nut it is now melted in jeans, toothpicks and purse straps among others, and is often coloured to escape detection.
Investigators also learnt that gold is mainly smuggled to Kolkata from Dubai and Bangkok. As per intelligence inputs, there are specific shops in these countries which facilitate the sale of smuggled gold.
An airport source said smugglers by far earn around Rs 5 lakh by selling 1 kg of gold in Kolkata. Kolkata has emerged as the biggest supplier of those who ferry gold.