Gold seized at airport

Gold ornaments seized at Biju Patnaik International Airport on Sunday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: Customs officers on Sunday seized gold ornaments weighing 1kg in two separate cases at Biju Patnaik International Airport.

This is the fifth such incident at the city airport in the past 10 days.

The market value of the seized gold is Rs 31.54 lakh. This was the first time a person from Odisha was caught with the gold.

"The passenger from Jagatsighpur reached the city airport from Dubai on an Air India flight. The other passenger from Delhi had come from Bangkok, also on Air India. We are questioning both of them to find out whether they were part of a gold smuggling racket," said a customs officer.

Both the passengers had brought the gold in the form of chains and kadas.

"The metal was found during search of their body and baggage. The metal was more than 99 per cent pure in both the cases," said a customs officer.

More than 6kg of gold has been seized from passengers at the airport since its first direct international flight - an AirAsia flight between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur - started in April last year.

Gold is smuggled from Bangkok and well-organised rackets target carriers promising them hefty money.

"Several methods are being adopted to conceal the metal including concealing the metal in body parts. Sometimes the metal is also smuggled in shoes and other luggage," said a customs officer.

The amount of duty-free gold that can be brought by passengers is low and it has to be in the form of ornaments.

A woman passenger is allowed to bring 40 grams of gold not costing more than Rs 1 lakh while the amount is 20 grams in case of men and that should not cost more than Rs 50,000.

However, this is only applicable for those staying abroad for more than six months.


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