Hyderabad: After Indian nationals passengers, Customs officials are monitoring international passengers at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport following inputs that foreigners were being roped in to smuggle gold into the country.
The number of cases of international passengers being caught while smuggling gold at various airports in the country is on the rise. Following the trend, the Customs department has asked all units to monitor foreign passengers.
Last month, about 30 nationals of Turkmenistan including 22 women were held at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport while they were attempting to smuggle gold worth Rs 6 crore into the country.
At other airports too, Customs officials have caught Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Kenyans and Iranians when they were attempting to smuggle gold. “The trend of foreigners being roped in to smuggle gold picked up since last year. Syndicates of smugglers prefer foreign nationals, assuming that the customs officials hardly suspect them as they come on tourist visas,” said a senior Customs official.
“Following specific inputs, a few foreigners were nabbed at airports after which an advisory was issued to keep a tab of them too,” he added. The Air Intelligence Unit of the Customs Department collects information about persons who are carrying gold and apprehends them mainly at airports.
“It is not that our operations are confined to airports or seaports. On specific information, we even tail the suspects to hotels and public places with the help of local law enforcement agencies,” said another official.
Another official of the customs department said that the smugglers might be “hiring” foreign nationals for the task of delivering the smuggled gold as they are not on the radar of Customs officials.
There is also a chance that they are not aware of the law and could be duped into transporting the gold to other countries illegally....