Over 2.5 kg of gold worth over Rs 1 crore was seized from a cabin crew member of a private airline at Cochin International Airport on Friday in a joint operation by personnel of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs Department, official sources said.
A senior cabin crew member of Spice Jet, identified as Manhas Abulaise, hailing from Palakkad in Kerala, has been arrested, The Hindu reported. The 2.55 kg of gold in compound form was recovered from him during a search soon after his flight from Ras al-Khaimah landed at the airport on Friday morning, they said.
Since the gold extracted from the compound is worth over Rs 1 crore, he would be produced before a local court, they added. ‚ÄúThe gold in compound form was concealed in the body in five packets. Following a tip-off, our team with the assistance of Customs, could identify and nab the person,‚ÄĚ The New Indian Express quoted a DRI official as saying.
The official also said that a drop in the number of flights have affected smugglers, so now they are trying to lure cabin crew. As per reports, the accused has confessed to have carried out similar attempts earlier too. He will be produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) on Saturday.
In November 2020, a cabin crew personnel of Air India, who had smuggled 400 grams of gold from Jeddah to Cochin in 2017, was sentenced to imprisonment for four years by an Ernakulam CBI court. Himat Kumar Obhan, former deputy chief cabin crew of Air India was given four years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 25,000. He was found hiding 400 grams gold bars, worth Rs 11,92,000 in his pant pockets.
In the same month, DRI officers seized around 10 kg of gold from six people, including a cabin crew member of an Air India Express flight, who landed at the Calicut International Airport from Dubai.