Dubai: Three Indians, who were repatriated on a chartered flight from the UAE on Friday, have been held in the state of Rajasthan after officials seized gold worth Dh2.2million from them, the government announced on Saturday.
They are likely to be placed under arrest along with 11 others, who were repatriated from Saudi Arabia, from whom gold worth Dh5.5million was seized, a statement from the government tweeted by Press Information Bureau in Rajasthan said.
The gold bars were hidden in emergency lamps, photos attached to the tweets showed.
The 14 passengers had arrived at the Jaipur International Airport by two chartered flights.
They were intercepted by the Customs team at the airport and 31.9kg of gold valued at Rs156,759,820 (Dh7.7million) concealed in the baggage was recovered from these passengers.
Three passengers arrived from Ras Al Khaimah by Spice Jet Flight SG9055 and 12 gold bars/bricks weighing 9.3kg valued at Rs.45,761,100 (Dh2.2million) were recovered from them, the statement said.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai confirmed to Gulf News that the flight was chartered by a private company for repatriating its employees.
It is suspected that the passengers were used as carriers to smuggle gold.
The other 11 accused had arrived from Riyadh and 22.65kg of gold bars, predominantly with Suisse markings, valued at Rs110,998,720 (Dh5.5million) were recovered from them.
“The said recovered gold bars have been seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962. The said passengers are being interrogated and are likely to be placed under arrest in terms of section 104 of the Customs Act, 1962,” the statement added.
Indian media had earlier reported similar cases in which stranded Indians were apparently lured to be carriers for smuggling gold on repatriation flights from various countries.
A spike in gold smuggling attempts using Indians getting repatriated after losing jobs was also reported from the Indian state of Kerala.