Air Intelligence unit of Chennai customs has become extra vigilant and tightening the noose on gold smuggling and other illegal activities at Chennai International airport. The alertness is showing positive result in last few months.
On September 14th, 2017, slethus of Air Intelligence Unit busted gold smuggling racket with a haul of 3 Kg. Gold bars. The custom department received basic specific inputs, from crime and Intelligence wing of CISF. The CISF officials,while on surveillance at tarmac area of Chennai airpot found suspicious movement who in tuninformed customs officials. The custom slethus intercepted one person near bay number 32, as he was behaving in a nervous and incoherent manner.
The person who was loitering around in suspicious manner was identified as Karikalan A. D. aged 44 Years, employed as handyman, wheelchair assistant/loader in Bhadra International Airport Ground Handling Services in Chennai International Airport. Karikalan, upon suspicion, was brought to International Arrival terminal for further inquiry. He was holding valid temporary pass issued by Braurau of Civil Aviation Secuity (BCAS).
On personal search of the Karikalan, gold weighing 03 KG valued at approximately Rs. 89 lakhs was found in his possession which was recovered from him and was seized. The seized gold comprised of 3 gold bars weighing one Kg each.
On further interrogation, he confessed that the Gold was given to him by an unknown passenger who arrived by Oman Airways Flight WY 253. He was to hand over the Gold bars to the said passenger outside the parking area. The customs slethus took him outside the Airport discreetly to identify the said passenger but unfortunately no one turned up to collect the gold. As no one approached him for considerable time he was brought back to AIU Room. As Karikalan was involved in abetting the smuggling, he was arrested under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. Further investigation is on.
It may be noted that in recent past high alertness of Chennai customs has recovered smuggled gold. They confiscated Gold weighing 1.8 kgs on August 11th 2017 worth worth Rs52.6 Lakh. On August 29, 2017 customs officials seized liquid gold worth Rs 7.28 lakh concealed in a detergent from an air passenger who arrived from Dubai.
Karikalan, works for Bhadra International Private Limited which is a leading service provider of Airport Ground Handling Services. They are providing their services in seven major Airports across India.
One of the senior custom official on the condition of anonymity said “The Indians have fancy towards gold; it is in very good demand among all classes. There is a huge price difference in price of Gold in Gulf countries and India. It fetches good premium too if it smuggled in to India. But we are always on high alerts which compel gold smugglers to refrain from illegal activities but they always try to use different modus operandi which we break time and again”.
The officer further added “We are keeping close tab on employees who are in position to go till aircrafts and restricted areas. They can be lured by smuggling cartels to use them for their illegal activities. We periodically do surprise search on individuals and areas around tarmac to keep smuggling activities at the bay”.
Author: Sitaram Mewati
Award winning journalist