Chinese, Iranian among 14 people held for gold smuggling at Delhi airport

Chinese, Iranian among 14 people held for gold smuggling at Delhi airport

(Eds: With more details)

New Delhi, Jun 14 (PTI) Fourteen people, including six Chinese nationals and an Iranian, were arrested separately by customs officials at the international airport here for allegedly smuggling gold worth about Rs 8 crore into the country.

Among those arrested include five women, some of whom had concealed gold in rectum.

These people were arrested in five incidents that were reported in the past three days, said Anubha Sinha, Joint Commissioner (Customs) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The total haul was one of the biggest seizures made by the customs in recent times, she said.

Giving details of the cases, Sinha said besides the Chinese nationals, the customs department has also arrested an Iranian and five Azerbaijan nationals.

In one case, the customs officials had yesterday intercepted two Chinese nationals on their arrival from Bangkok.

?A detailed examination of their baggage and personal search resulted in the recovery of six kilograms (of gold). They had concealed the gold in form of bangles worn by them,? Sinha said.

The gold which is assessed to be worth Rs 1.8 crore has been seized.

In another case, an Iranian national was held on his arrival from Dubai on Tuesday for allegedly trying to smuggle in eight kg gold.

He had concealed the gold in especially designed pockets of a jacket worn by him.

On the same day, five Azerbaijan nationals, including three women, were arrested for smuggling in 2.45 kg gold.

The accused had concealed the gold in form of bangles and other jewellery worn by them.

On June 11, four Chinese nationals, including two women, were arrested for illegally carrying six kg gold.

Of the total gold, about five kg was concealed in rectum by these accused, said Anees Cherkunnath, Deputy Commissioner (Air Intelligence) at the airport.

They were intercepted on their arrival from Hong Kong.

An Indian man was also arrested on the same day for smuggling in one kg gold. He had concealed the yellow metal in rectum.

The accused was held when he was proceeding to board a flight to Amritsar, Cherkunnath said, adding that he had come from Bangkok.

Another Indian man was held on June 12, who had also come from Bangkok and was all set to board a flight to Amritsar. He had concealed three kg gold in his checked-in baggage, the official said.

In all, 26.45 kg gold valued at Rs 7.93 crore has been seized in these cases, Cherkunnath said.

According to another senior customs official, smugglers were following novel modus operandi to smuggle in gold.

These smugglers first try to carry illegal money, mostly cash, by avoiding customs authorities and use this proceeds to buy gold and bring it to India, he said.

The demand of gold has been traditionally high in the country as most people invests in it or use it in jewellery during marriages and other religious ceremonies, the official said. PTI AKV DIP SMN SMN