A person, who de-boarded at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport from a private airline’s flight on Tuesday night, was captured by the security agency on the charge of carrying gold bars.
The security personnel found three gold bars from a bag which was hidden in his undergarment. The security personnel took him to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Police Station.
“The accused person was carrying around 250 grams of gold bars, worth Rs 7.6 lakh. He came from Bangkok,” said a police officer.
However, the Air Intelligence Wing of Customs has beefed up the security of Kolkata airport before Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A Customs officer said many such gold-smuggling cases take place at this time of the year.
The officers of the Customs are now conducting raids to prevent gold smuggling through Kolkata airport. Acting on intelligence inputs, the AIU officers checked trolleys of passengers at the entrance of the Green Channel.
“In several cases, we have recovered the gold bars concealed inside trolleys left unattended by passengers. It is a repeated affair,” said a Customs officer.
The Customs officer added that in this festive season, the big groups hire carriers or even take help from airlines staff to smuggle in gold.
On many occasions, gold has been recovered from the wash basins of airport restrooms. Now, instead of smuggling gold, a huge quantity at a time, they smuggle it in instalments.
The sleuths have also learnt that the modus operandi of the smugglers has also changed. While in the past, gold would be carried in the mouth or rectum, it is now inserted in jeans, toothpicks and purse straps among others, and is often coloured to escape detection.
The investigators have also learnt that the gold is mainly smuggled to Kolkata from Dubai and Bangkok. As per intelligence inputs, there are specific shops in Dubai and Bangkok which facilitate the sale of smuggled gold.
An airport source said that smugglers by far earn around Rs 5 lakh by selling 1 kg of gold in Kolkata.
In some recent incidents, the Air Intelligence Wing of Customs at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata has seized gold worth Rs 22 lakh collectively in three consecutive days. Two persons were arrested in these cases.
In another incident, the security personnel detained a person on the charge of illegally bringing gold jewelleries, by keeping them concealed in a marker pen.