The Mumbai Customs has seized foreign currency and gold worth Rs 29.84 lakh at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) since Wednesday.
According to the customs, they intercepted a passenger while departing to Sharjah on Wednesday. The passenger was carrying 26,390 US dollars, equivalent to Rs 19.23 lakh. “The currency was cleverly concealed in a false cavity made in his backpack,” the customs stated.
In another case, a passenger was intercepted based on suspicion and was found carrying six gold bars, collectively weighing 659 grams of gold. The gold has been seized and a case has been registered in this regard.
Sources stated that smugglers cash-in the price difference of gold in the country compared to other countries. Due to the stringent lockdown and lack of flights, gold smuggling activities in the country had slowed down. With operations resuming, smugglers are trying to sneak in the precious gold.
A Spate of such cases has been reported recently at the city airport as smugglers are trying to take advantage of the pandemic situation anticipating less checking and scrutiny. On Monday, two passengers were intercepted carrying wet gold dust and a gold chain. The value of the seized gold was Rs 29.50 lakh and Rs 28.94 lakh respectively.
The gold dust is difficult to trace in handheld detectors and scanners and hence smugglers are trying to sneak in the precious metal in dust form.
In another recent case, one Indian passenger was intercepted at departure airport who attempted to travel to Dubai. He was found in possession of undeclared $30000 equivalent to ₹21, 87,000 which were concealed in black pouches in a handbag.
The passenger was placed under arrest. The recovered foreign currency was seized under the reasonable belief that the same was attempted to be smuggled out of India and hence liable for confiscation under the provisions of the Customs Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act.