The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Friday, arrested two persons, in a case of gold smuggling, at the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). According to media reports, the two arrested persons were identified as 28-year-old Paul Jose from Nayathode area in Ernakulam district and 27-year-old Muhammed Ashraf, who is a native of Malappuram district. The officials seized 3.3 kilogram of gold worth Rs 1 crore from the duo.
According to reports, Paul Jose was an employee at BWFS, a ground handling agency at the CIAL, whereas Muhammed Ashraf, landed at the CIAL on an Emirates flight from Dubai on Friday early morning.
DRI sources, according to a report by the Times of India (TOI), said that the accused were planning to execute the transaction at a lavatory soon after entering the airport. A DRI official was quoted as saying, “The ground handling staff confessed that he had done such exchanges at least a couple of times. He was being watched and the smuggling was foiled based on a tip-off we received.”
Two gold bars, two pieces of a gold bar, four coins and two small bars were seized by the DRI team. The contraband was said to have been taped inside the hand baggage of the accused. As per the TOI report, the accused ground staff usually smuggled gold out of the airport by providing wheelchair assistance to the needy and used to sneak out through the staff gate after hiding the consignment in his shoe or body.
“After meeting each other, they would enter the toilet and the carrier would hand over the consignment. We nabbed them as they came out,” the DRI official was quoted to have said, according to the TOI report.
A report by Deccan Chronicle stated that the DRI was on alert after they received information about the exchange that was to take place at the airport on Friday. The report states that DRI team was sent for the raid, instead of the customs with the anticipation that the accused will try to escape from them before the exchange.