1.16 Kg gold worth Rs 64 lakh seized by Chennai airport customs, 2 arrested
The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials at the Chennai International airport arrested a gold smuggler, who flew in from Sharjah, and the receiver who was meant to collect the gold from him. 24 karat gold weighing 1.16 kg and valued at Rs 64 lakh was seized under the Customs Act, 1962.
Based on intelligence, a special alert was maintained to nab the smuggler who was expected to arrive on an Air India Express flight from Sharjah. On observing a passenger who appeared to be hurriedly rushing towards the exit with a carton box, officials intercepted him and checked his belongings. The carton box was found to contain clothes, household items and a toolkit.
However, the toolkit contained an electric wrench, which was found to be unusually heavy. On dismantling the machine, a black cylindrical piece of metal was found concealed inside. On further examination, it was confirmed that the metal cylinder was painted in black, but made of pure 24K gold and it weighed 1.16 kg.
The passenger who carried it was identified as Jahir Hussain (54), a native of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. He had stated that he was handed over the tool kit by an unknown person at the Sharjah airport, with instructions to hand it over after reaching his quarantine facility, which is not far from the airport.
In a swift operation after getting his swab test done, an AIU team boarded the bus (to the quarantine facility) along with the passenger, with another team following the bus. On reaching the hotel, the passenger contacted the receiver, in order to proceed with the handover. At the time of handover, the receiver and smuggler were arrested. The receiver was identified as Mohammad Asif (33), a Chennai-resident.
“It is routine to catch the carriers by the time they exit the airport or sometimes even outside the airport. But this is a first-of-its-kind case where we have nabbed the carrier and the receiver by following the individual till the quarantine hotel,” Rajan Chaudhary, Commissioner Customs said.