Five persons, including two staff members of the Coimbatore International Airport, were arrested on Friday for attempting to smuggle gold into India. The arrests were made based on a tip-off received by the officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
According to a statement from the DRI, the officials received information about a passenger arriving on Srilankan Airlines flight, who was attempting to smuggle gold into the city and had plans to transfer the contraband to some persons waiting outside the airport.
Based on this input, the DRI officials maintained vigil at the airport and intercepted Syed Abu Thahir, who had arrived in Coimbatore on the said flight.
Around 1.6 kilograms of gold in the form of 16 bars, worth Rs 55 lakh, were recovered from him. The passenger confessed to the involvement of airline staff in the operation, based on which the officials apprehended Manoj and Sathesh.
Further, with the help of the information elicited from the apprehended airline staff, a team of officers also arrested T Raja of Trichy and the car driver, who were waiting to receive the contraband about 3 kilometres away from the airport.
While the main accused in the racket is still at large, the arrested persons have been let out on bail.
In November, the DRI officials held a national from Sudan at the airport for smuggling gold worth Rs 25 lakh. The accused had arrived at Coimbatore on an Air Arabia flight and had concealed the gold in the battery of two mobile phones.
Similarly, gold worth Rs 34 lakh was recovered by the DRI officials in July from two passengers who arrived on Srilankan Airlines. The contraband was hidden inside an electric iron and television, in the form of round and square biscuits.