9 kg gold bars seized from aircraft at Pune intl airport

Customs officials recovered 10 gold bars valued at Rs 2.8 crore from a Spice Jet flight enroute from Dubai at Pune International Airport here today.

“Acting on a specific intelligence, our officers recovered 10 gold bars, weighing 9.1 kgs bearing the marking of ‘Valcambi Suisse’, from the rear toilet of Spice-Jet flight number SG-52 which arrived from Dubai on Wednesday at 4 am,” Deputy Commissioner at Pune Customs, K Shubhendra said.

He said that the gold bars were concealed in plastic bags.

Shubhendra claimed that this is biggest seizure at the Pune airport.

“Beside biggest seizure, this is the first time we have recovered gold bars which have ‘Suisse’ marking as this kind of gold is considered purest,” he claimed.

The gold bars have been seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, the official added.

On the modus-operandi of smugglers, he said generally a smuggler discretely stashes gold in an aircraft at its international point of departure and conceal it in the toilet.

“The aircraft, which comes to Indian city from international destination is then used as domestic flight. A new passenger then collects the gold stashed in the toilet and leaves the plane as there are no customs checks for the domestic flights,” he said.

The typical nature of Spice-Jet flight here is after arriving from Dubai, it off-loads its passengers and then it goes to Bangalore on its domestic leg.

“The new passenger on board easily picks it up as since it is a domestic flight, there will not be any customs checks at Bangalore and he can easily take the gold out of the airport,” he elucidated.

He added that a case has been registered against unidentified people and investigation is going on.

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