Tiruchy: Nightlong searches on passengers and their baggage at the airport here has created a record of sorts as nearly 50 kilos of gold was seized from about 100 passengers who arrived from Colombo, Singapore and Malaysia, sources said.
They said acting on a tip-off that huge amount of gold was being brought into the country through paid couriers — known in the local parlance as “kuruvees” (sparrows, carriers)—the intelligence wing of the Income Tax department had deployed a team of about 22 officers to the Tiruchy airport for checking on passengers arriving from Colombo, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
While the kuruvees carried the yellow contraband, there was another class of deadly operators known as “kokkoos” (cranes) who are trained to receive the “kuruvees” on landing at the airport, liaison with the Customs officials and ensuring that the goods are safely delivered at the big boss’ den, filmi style. The contraband on the traffickers’s shopping list includes drugs and weapons, apart from electronic items.
The IT sleuths are said to have functioned independent of the Customs officials at the airport, indicating they took extreme precautions to prevent leakage of the operational details.
According to sources, the taxmen at the airport raids had picked out about 100 from the large passenger traffic landing from Colombo, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Intensive searching of their persons and the belongings yielded 50 kilos of gold hidden in different ingenious places by the detained passengers. “About 15 of these detained passengers were found to be feeling uncomfortable in their abdomen region, so the tax sleuths took them to a nearby hospital for being administered enema so as to flush out the gold nuggets hidden inside the rectum. The officers also seized several mobile phones from the kuruvees and kokkoos so as to check on their call-lists for tracking down the big fish.
There is deep concern among the various government outfits dealing with economic offences, relating to the increasing incidence of smuggling of gold and other contraband into the country.
The nightlong operation in the airport here appears to have set a trend in the meticulous planning and execution of their operations by both the smugglers and their pursuers.