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Euro, gold haul at airport

The 50,000 Euros and gold bars seized by customs officials at the airport. (Bhabatosh Chakraborty)

A man was arrested at Calcutta airport on Tuesday for carrying 50,000 Euros while gold bars weighing a kilo were seized from two fliers later at night, customs officials said.

The officials stopped Rajkumar Das, a 33-year-old resident of Dum Dum, when he was about to board a flight to Bangkok.

“The Euros were found in one of his bags. Das claimed that he was acting as a carrier, transporting the money from a person here to another in Bangkok,” said an official.

The value of Euro 50,000 (around Rs 42.51 lakh) is much higher than the limit of US $5,000 or Rs 3.11 lakh that a flier is allowed to carry while going abroad.

Later at night, customs officials seized six gold bars worth nearly Rs 30 lakh from two passengers who had arrived from Bangkok.

According to the officials, the two fliers were carrying 500gm of gold bars each.

“The gold bars were concealed in the battery chamber of two video cameras,” said an official.

The passengers had replaced three batteries with gold bars in both the cameras that need six batteries to operate.

The bars were moulded to fit in the battery unit of the cameras, said officials. The fliers were, however, allowed to go.

Since last April, nearly 64kg gold has been seized at the Calcutta airport.

Officials said the haul was the highest for any airport in the country during the period. Kochi airport, with a haul of 55kg of the precious metal, is placed second.

Smuggling has increased following the RBI restrictions on import of gold in an attempt to arrest the rising current account deficit.