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Gold in drilling machine

The block of gold seized at the airport on Tuesday

Dum Dum: A block of gold weighing 3kg and valued around Rs 90 lakh has been seized at the airport from a passenger who had concealed it in a drilling machine.

The drilling machine weighed 10kg, around 3kg more than what was mentioned on the packet containing it, raising suspicions of customs officials. "The machine was taken to a lathe factory nearby. It yielded a cylindrical block of gold when it was cut open," an official said.

The passenger, Ratan Kumar Singh, arrived from Dubai on Tuesday morning and was exiting through the green channel (meant for those who don't have to declare anything for paying duty) when customs officials intercepted him.

"We had a tip-off about Singh. The abnormal weight of the drilling machine made us suspicious," the official said.

Airport sources said smuggling of gold had increased following the hike in import duties on the metal in 2013. Calcutta is a popular stopover for gold smugglers because of its proximity to southeast Asia.

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