Dubai: Authorities at India’s Chennai Airport seized 32kg of gold bars worth Rs95 million (Dh5.65 million) hidden in the toilet of a plane flying from Dubai early this week.
Indian press reports said auth-orities arrested four Sri Lankans, including two passengers from Dubai and their two accomplices who were to board the Air India plane to Delhi. The smugglers are believed to have concealed 32 one-kilogram bars in two black camcorder bags.
The Times of India quoted an Indian official as saying: “The passengers from Dubai and the two passengers from Chennai to Delhi had booked their tickets in executive class. We are not ruling out the role of some airline insiders in this smuggling bid.”
Gold smuggling into India has seen a sharp spike following the increase in import duty, the reports said. Some foreign travellers, particularly from the Gulf, are said to be smuggling gold bars and undeclared jewellery in innovative ways.
In July an Indian man was arrested at Ahmedabad airport when a gold bar concealed in a plastic bag with adhesive tape fell off the trolley, giving him away. Another passenger was arrested in Mangalore when customs officials found 157 grams of gold ornaments hidden in a thermos flask. Yet another man had stapled cardboard cartons filled with food packets with pins made of gold. There was also a case in which gold bars were hidden in a man’s lower abdomen.