New Delhi, Oct. 21 -- This festive season be very careful while buying gold.
Iridium powder, a common chemical used as an adulterant in gold, has been seized by the customs department at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. A man, who was carrying 2 kg iridium powder worth Rs. 40 lakh, was arrested. He had concealed the powder in specially designed pockets in his vest.
Iridium is a rare metal and once applied, it becomes difficult to differentiate between the original and fake gold through naked eye, experts said.
On Friday, Faiz Ahmed Abdul Jabbar Ghawte, who had arrived on a flight from Hong Kong, was stopped for checking after a tip-off was received that he was trying to smuggle goods.
"During physical checking, something suspicious was noticed in his vest. He was asked to remove his clothes and packets of powder were found in designed pockets," a senior customs department official said.
"He was booked for smuggling 2kg of suspected iridium powder, concealed in the specially designed zipped pockets in the inner vest and the pants. The market value of iridium powder of this quantity is Rs. 40lakh. Apart from this, the passenger was also carrying cloth fabric worth Rs. 59,000 and luxury Vertu mobile phones," Neeta Lall Butalia, commissioner of customs (I&G) said.
"The goods have been seized and the passenger has been arrested as per the provisions of Customs Act, 1962," the commissioner said.
Officials said they are checking previous records of Ghawte as he is suspected to be involved in other smuggling cases too.
"He had adopted a unique modus operandi to avoid detection through electronic surveillance. He used to record his message and send it to his associate through multi-media message (MMS) service," the officer added.
Sources said that his phone number was put on surveillance but he was not talking to his associates in Delhi and instead sending MMS messages.
"But we were keeping a close watch on his movements and finally nabbed him," the officer added.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.