High alertness and enhanced networking by Chennai customs to curb gold smuggling and other illegal activities has tuned out to be fruitful. Nearly 1.8 kgs of gold valued at Rs. 52.6 lakh was recovered from two person at Anna International Airport, Chennai on Friday August 11th 2017. Based on specific information of likelihood of smuggling of gold, custom officer’s from Custom’s Air Intelligence unit kept strict vigil on Air Asia flight No AK 013 which arrived in Chennai from Kuala Lampur.
The customs officials apprehended a passenger namely Baghurudeen Shek Kadar Patcha, aged 51, who disembarked from Air Asia flight. The customs officials trailed him as he was walking in suspicious manner. The custom officials who were following him right from the aircraft to aerobridge, seen him transferring a packet to a person who was walking right behind him. The person who collected packet from passenger later identified as D Maniknandan, an employee BVG Company. Both passenger and BVG staff were taken in to custody immediately for further investigation. The BVG Company is assigned a contract for maintenance and other services of the Chennai airport.
D Maniknandan after receiving packet from passenger observed that he was being followed by custom officials, tried to escape by taking de-tour. The customs officials caught him red handed in the corridor, before immigration area and was questioned extensively. On investigation, he was found that he was holding airport entry pass issued in the name of D Maniknandan and working as Escalator Monitoring person, employed with BVG India Ltd.
On physical search of Maniknandan, 1.8 kgs of gold valued at Rs. 52.6 lakhs was recovered from his possession, confiscated by custom officials. The gold which was found wrapped in black colour adhesive tape was hidden in left hand side pocket of his trouser. The gold was in the form of 1 kilo bar and three cut-bits weighing 800 grams. The gold bar has swiss marking “PAMP SUISSE 1 KILO FINE GOLD 999.9”ESSAYEUR FONDEUR C 750785. The passenger Baghurudeen Patcha who carried gold with him from aircraft was also apprehended at the same time.
D Maniknandan, arrested BVG staff by customs officials revealed that he was supposed to deliver the gold to same passenger in the car parking area outside the airport. He was to exit through other than customs exit and meet him outside. Both accused are arrested and by customs and are cooling their heels behind the bar.
One of the senior custom officials on the condition of anonymity said “The Chennai customs is on high alerts as far as smuggling and other illegal activities are concerned. We have activated our sources and are determined to nail culprits. We are living no stone unturned to detect wrongdoing. We have enhanced our vigilance networks that are on high alert. The detection of gold smuggling is a result of high alertness and extensive networking. The matter does not end here, we will try to reach main culprits who are involved in smuggling and will take this case to its logical end “.
“The recovered gold is estimated to be worth Rs. 52.6 lakhs, he said, adding that further investigation was on.
It may be noted that BVG India limited is the largest integrated service company in India, based in Pune. The Airport Authority of India has outsourced the works of housekeeping, maintenance of lifts and escalators to BVG. As per BVG website they have leading clients all over India that includes Supreme Court of India, Reserve bank of India, AIIMS, CPWD, housekeeping and maintenance services at Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Chennai airports. They maintain over twenty places of worship across India, including Tirupati Tirumala, Shirdi Sai Baba, Nanded Gurudwara, and many others.
Written by Sitaram Mewati
Author: Sitaram Mewati
Award winning journalist