Fourteen passengers carrying 6.4 kg of gold worth Rs 2.17 cr from Umrah in Saudi Arabia were caught at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), according to Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials and Hyderabad police.
All 14 passengers are said to be residents of Hyderabad. They were intercepted at the exit gate of the Hyderabad-bound Jeddah flight SV-744.
DRI officials said in a statement, "On verification, each of them was found to be carrying Foreign Marked Gold in the form of cut pieces, 24 karat kadas and 24 karat chains."
According to the officials, the smuggled gold was concealed on the passengers and they did not have any documents to prove it was being legally imported. The gold was seized under the Customs Act, 1962.
According to DRI officials, certain agents would attract poor individuals under the pretext of sponsoring a highly-discounted trip to Umrah for a pilgrimage. Those same people would then allegedly be made to carry the gold while returning to India, as per their instructions.
The agent would then instruct them to hand over the hold to a point person, officials said. It is alleged that the travellers were being blackmailed by agents at Jeddah with consequences of penalty or recovery of the full charge of the trip if they failed to follow their orders.
Earlier in May in two separate incidents, two passengers were caught smuggling gold at the airport. While one passenger was caught with 33 gold bars worth more than Rs 1 crore in a cloth that was taped to his waist and in his shoes, another women passenger was caught with 11 kg gold that is worth of more than Rs 3 crore, along with Rs 1.5 crore in foreign currency.