Minutes after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials took into custody 18 passengers who had smuggled gold into the Chennai airport, an unidentified gang allegedly attacked the officials and freed the passengers.
According to reports, the airport officials had seized 12.69 kg of gold worth Rs 5.44 crore from 18 passengers who had arrived in the Chennai international airport from Malaysia, Colombo and Dubai on Wednesday morning. After the seizure and completion of the necessary procedures to detain the 18 men for investigation, a team of DRI officials were taking them outside the airport. Their plan was to take the suspects in a vehicle to the DRI office, where further inquiry would be held.
As soon as the group stepped outside the arrival hall of the airport, a group of 50 men allegedly accosted them and started verbally abusing the officers. When the officers resisted and tried to escort the passengers to the bus, the mob attacked the officers, helping the passengers to escape. Two DRI officers were reportedly injured in the commotion.
Following the incident, the DRI issued a press release on Thursday, stating that the agency is probing the role of two air customs officers who have been suspected of helping the passengers smuggle gold into Chennai. The agency also conducted searches on the premises of a tax assistant in Kolathur. The DRI said that the assistant had recently quit his job in the department and might have helped in coordinating with the smugglers.
On Thursday, 13 out of the 18 smugglers appeared at the DRI office for inquiry.
Meanwhile, in another separate incident, the airport authorities also seized over 5 kg of gold worth Rs 2.28 crore in a foiled attempt to smuggle it out of Chennai airport. Seven persons have been arrested in connection to the case.