Customs officials in Hyderabad seized 21 kilograms of gold worth over Rs 25 crore from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad on Saturday. The unclaimed consignment of gold biscuits and jewellery, which did not have any supporting documents, arrived from one of the Gulf countries and was headed to Mumbai, say reports.
Officials came across the consignment during routine checks undertaken at RGIA. They found 21 kg gold and diamonds, 2 kg in the form of gold biscuits and the rest in the form of gold and diamond ornaments valued at Rs 9.4 crore, reported TOI.
The cargo was in transit at RGIA and headed to Mumbai via a domestic cargo flight. This is the first major haul by Customs officials this year in Hyderabad. It is also the first major haul since RGIA resumed operations after being suspended for a few weeks in March due to the COVID-19 related lockdown.
Customs officials are making efforts to identify the persons behind the consignment brought to Hyderabad via a courier service, reported Telangana Today.
The last major haul by the Customs department at RGIA was in October 2019 when an Indigo customer service staffer and two others were caught while attempting to smuggle gold into Hyderabad. Officials with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) found the airline employee in possession of 42 foreign marked gold bars worth Rs 1.84 crore. The gold bars were found wrapped in two packets with tape. The staffer was caught red-handed near the exit gate for international arrivals.
Several such attempts have been made in the past to illegally smuggle gold into the city, but authorities claim they remain vigilant.
In August 2019, a passenger from Dubai was caught and arrested while trying to smuggle 9.2 kg of gold into the city concealed as heating coils in dry iron boxes. Officials said the ‘V’ shaped gold bars were concealed in the plates of the iron boxes by replacing the heating coils. The seized gold was estimated to be valued at Rs 3.46 crore.