The Mumbai airport customs seized Sunday 12 kg gold valued at Rs 5.38 crore from a specially designed belt worn by a Sudanese passenger, said officials.
According to the customs, a group of six passengers, who had taken a flight from Dubai, were alleged to have created commotion to help the accused escape but were overpowered. The officials said that it was a regular tactic to divert the attention of customs authorities while one member of the gang tries to smuggle contraband past the red channel.
The alert customs officials, however, checked the accused Hassan Ali passing through the red channel and found the 12 kg gold hidden in a belt. An official said: “The said recovered goods were seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act. We have booked a case of smuggling of gold in this respect.”
The official said that on being questioned, the accused said that they are part of a group involved in gold smuggling. Following this, the six were placed under arrest by Customs officials while six others, who also tried to interfere, were deported from India.
Advocate Prabhakar Tripathi, who appeared for the accused in the court, argued that the gold recovery shown in the case was found in the toilet of the airport in the arrival hall. He argued that merely on suspicion that the Sudanese had arrived at the airport at the same time, six innocent persons were arrested and kept in custody though nothing has been recovered from them.
“The customs department has failed to trace the original culprit and cooked up a case to arrest six innocent persons. Other six Sudanese were not allowed to enter India and the customs department has deported them,” he argued further.