After the flight lands from overseas into India, the gold is kept in the rear seat cover or under the seat.
Mumbai: The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai customs revealed that around 30.7 kilograms gold was caught while being smuggled in 20 cases in November 2017 alone. It registered a jump of almost three times as compared with November 2016 when the AIU registered seven odd cases for illegally bringing 11.5 kilograms gold.
There was a spurt in gold smuggling cases also during February and March with the highest seizures taking place in February. Sources said one of the factors behind the spurt could be anxiety related to the possible rise of gold prices in the budget. Most of this activities take place via the late night or early morning flight arrivals.
After demonetisation there was a rise in gold smuggling with the highest seizure taking place in February. According to the statistics, 33.53kg gold was seized by the customs in 55 cases of smuggling, worth Rs 9.18 crore. The following month, another 32.17kgs gold worth Rs 8.7 crores was seized.
One of the reasons for the smuggling to thrive is also due to insider’s involvement. There have been instances when the ground staff of an airliner are found to be hand in gloves with the smugglers.
“Changing of hands of smuggled gold with insider’s help takes place mostly in the domestic leg of an international flight. After the flight lands from overseas into India, the gold is kept in the rear seat cover or under the seat. The subsequent flier makes a pre-booking with reservation of the same seat and takes the custody of gold,” said a senior AIU officer. In these cases, the concerned persons get the details of flight allocation from within the system.