Nation Crime 19 Sep 2018 Chennai: Rs 2.5 cror ...

Chennai: Rs 2.5 crore gold on plane to 4 cities, for 12 hours

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Sep 19, 2018, 2:52 am IST
Updated Sep 19, 2018, 2:59 am IST
Thajuddin has been arrested and the seized bag of 8 kg gold has been handed over to airport customs.   (Representational Images)
 Thajuddin has been arrested and the seized bag of 8 kg gold has been handed over to airport customs. (Representational Images)

Chennai: A bag of gold travelled across the country to four cities in an aircraft's toilet for over 12 hours when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials recovered it and nabbed the smuggler at the Chennai International Airport on Tuesday. 

The bag, containing 8kg of gold, worth around Rs 2.5 crores was hidden in the aircraft flying from Dubai when the smuggler, identified as Thajuddin, 38, was alerted by his associates about DRI officials at the airport in Chennai mid-flight. To escape being caught, Thajuddin hid the gold in a black plastic bag in the tank of a toilet, the police said.

The DRI who even though were present at the airport before sunrise on Monday morning after receiving a tip-off were not able to make any arrests. However, DRI officials in other airports were alerted. The aircraft then went to Delhi as a domestic flight and then returned to Chennai later at around 12:40 pm. When it was to be flown to Coimbatore, Thajuddin immediately booked for the flight, police sources said. However, he was still unable to smuggle away the bag as his associates had informed him of DRI officials at the Coimbatore airport as well. 

After coming to know that the aircraft would then be flown to Delhi via Chennai from Coimbatore, Thajuddin decided to buy a ticket to Delhi where he, along with his associates, would smuggle the bag out some way or the other. 

The DRI officials, by then, had concluded that gold was on board the flight. They were prepared to seize it when the flight landed at the Chennai domestic airport at 4:15 pm on Monday, including special permission from the aircraft for conducting a search. 

Only 17 people were flying to Delhi on the connecting flight. Their seats and baggage were checked before the bag was found in the toilet tank. All 17 passengers were questioned and Thajuddin was removed from the aircraft for further questioning, airport police sources said.

Thajuddin also confessed to having associates in Kovai and in Delhi. He also told them that the associates from Kovai would be flying into Chennai on Tuesday. 

Four men were arrested after Thajuddin identified them, police sources said. Thajuddin has been arrested and the seized bag of 8 kg gold has been handed over to airport customs. The four associates have been taken into custody by the DRI for further questioning.

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