Sleuths of the Air Intelligence Unit of the Hyderabad Customs office on Sunday arrested a passenger at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in the city, after he attempted to smuggle 2.9 kg of gold, valued at Rs 1.11 crore, in the form of 26 gold bars.
Officials said that the accused, identified as Shaik Abdul, landed in Hyderabad on a night flight that was travelling from Sharjah. Based on a tip-off, a Customs team checked a washroom at the international arrival hall and apprehended Shaik, as they found gold bars concealed behind a commode. Officials said that he was just a courier, who was paid to carry the gold and drop it off at the Hyderabad airport.
“The passenger had concealed the gold in the washroom for subsequent removal by insiders to smuggle it out of the airport. Sajeed, a first-time traveller, admitted that the packet was handed over to him by a person at Dubai with specific instructions to conceal the gold behind the commode,” an official was quoted as saying.
The accused was arrested and officials said that further investigation was ongoing, to identify others who were part of the smuggling ring.
In the past, several such attempts have been made, to illegally smuggle gold into the city, but authorities state that they remain vigilant.
Just earlier this month, customs officials arrested a man who tried to smuggle 9.2 kg of gold into Hyderabad, concealed as heating coils of dry iron boxes. Officials said the gold bars were in a 'V' shape, and were concealed in the plates of the iron boxes, by replacing the heating coils.
However, based on a tip-off, officials managed to arrest the passenger who arrived from Dubai, and seized the gold, estimated to be valued at Rs 3.46 crore.
In April this year, a passenger from Doha was caught while trying to smuggle gold in the form of a 'paste', in his trousers, which was worth nearly Rs 37 lakh. In March, a passenger was caught by officials while trying to smuggle round 350 grams of gold in the form of wrist watch dials.