Chennai, Jan 31 (PTI): A total of 4.15 kgs of gold worth Rs 2.17 crore were recovered from plane passengers, who had swallowed capsules of gold, at the city airport here, Customs authorities have said.
The capsules of the precious metal were swallowed and seven of the eight passengers were arrested, Commissioner of Customs Rajan Choudhry said.
Each capsule weighed about 15-24 grams and in total 222 capsules were recovered from the stomachs of all the eight passengers.
Based on specific inputs, the air intelligence wing officials intercepted eight passengers, including four women, who arrived from Dubai and Sharjah on January 22 on suspicion and during interrogation, the passengers confessed to the crime.
The passengers had told the authorities that they had swallowed gold paste in capsules before departing. The passengers were admitted to the Stanley Government Hospital in the city to recover the capsules under expert medical supervision.
'The process of recovery was cumbersome as the passengers were fed with a heavy diet to facilitate ejection of the capsules of gold in a natural way,' Commissioner of Customs Rajan Choudhry said in a press release.
To complete the entire process, it took eight days, he said, adding that the earlier modus operandi of smuggling of gold was by concealing the metal in paste form in the rectum.
Gold concealed in hand-bags and pant pockets of the passengers was also recovered, he said.
One of the eight passengers was not arrested as the value of gold seized was lesser than Rs 20 lakh which is the maximum amount that attracts detention of the smuggler, the officer told PTI.
In total, 4.15 kgs of gold worth Rs 2.17 crore were seized and the seven were arrested.
Further investigation was on. PTI VIJ NVG NVG