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Tiruchi international airport turning gold smuggling hub; DRI,Customs on alert

- April 18, 2022

Chennai, April 18 (BPNS)

The Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths on Sunday night seized 2.5 kg of gold concealed as paste from a crew member of Air India express flight and a passenger.

The flight had landed at 7 pm from Singapore and the crew member Vinod Kumar and the passenger, Bakrudeen were apprehended and found that gold was converted in paste form and was smuggled into the country.

On investigation the DRI sleuths found that the seized gold was valued at around Rs 1 crore and have commenced investigation on the arrested people.

Tiruchi international airport has been on the radar of the DRI and Customs ever since a gold smuggling racket was busted at the airport in November 2021.

Central intelligence agencies had also tipped off the DRI that certain people who were involved in raising funds for some nefarious activiites were using the Tiruchi international airport. DRI had earlier busted two attempts to smuggle gold by concealing in the body of the aircraft as well as concealing inside the panel beneath the seat. In the first instance gold worth 41.62 lakhs was seized and in the second raid gold worth 21.5 lakhs was recovered.

It may be noted that the Tiruchi Air intelligence unit of the customs had seized gold worth 28 crores in a period between April 2020 and March 2021 and the net amount of gold seized during the period from April 2021 to July 2021 , the Air Intelligence Unit recovered 15 crores of gold and 45 cases were registered.

Sources told BPNS that Tiruchi airport is turning into a hub of gold smuggling from Singapore, Malayasia and Dubai and several carriers are employed for this purpose. A senior officer with the DRI at Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “The Central agencies have intimated us that certain groups are using gold smuggling to fund their nefarious activities and we are trying to crack the link along with the Central agencies and the elite Q branch unit of the Tamil Nadu police.”

DRI and other agencies are also trying to get into the details of those who are buying the gold smuggled into the country through Tiruchi international airport. After the tip off from the Central Intelligence agencies, the Q branch police has also commenced investigation into the details of some individuals who were involved in employing carriers for smuggling in gold to the country.