The Air Intelligence Unit on Friday caught 4 kg of gold from the men’s washroom at T2, and on October 7, it seized 3 kg of gold hidden in the frame of a flight seat; interceptions were minimal last month due to Pitru Paksha
After nearly a month of inactivity, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs sprung back into action, seizing gold worth R1.75 crore in the past few days. The lull period was in September due to Pitru Paksha, the 15-day lunar period dedicated to performing last rites for ancestors according to Hindu customs.
After a slow period due to Pitru Paksha, gold seizures have begun at Terminal 2 again. Pic for representation
The period of Pitru Paksha is considered inauspicious to make any new purchases - like gold - or begin a new venture. Thus, cases of gold smuggling were not detected. The period ended on September 23 and smuggling returned as the festive season of Navratri began, albeit in smaller amounts.
On Friday, AIU officials received a tip-off around 1 am about gold having been hidden in a washroom. Officials found 4 kilograms of gold bars, each weighing 1 kg, in a cubicle in the men’s washroom opposite belt number 9 in the arrival hall at Terminal 2. The total worth of this gold was pegged at Rs 98.7 lakh.
This is not the first time the washroom has been used to make drops; there have been many cases in the past where smugglers have used the toilet to leave the consignment to be picked up. In the second case, a few days ago, officials received specific information about yellow metal on the Singapore-Mumbai AI 343 flight.
Three gold bars weighing 1 kg each were found concealed in the lower metal frame of seats 37J and 38J in the plane, along with 98 grams of gold cut into pieces. The total worth of this haul was around R76.43 lakh. This puts the total worth of gold seized in the past few days at a whopping Rs 1.75 crore.
“Usually, these smugglers are to hand over the gold to a third person. They either plan to leave it at a particular spot, or sometimes, spotting officers on rounds, opt to leave the gold and run away. Cases of unclaimed seizures have risen, as the smugglers find it difficult to sneak out of Terminal 2 with their consignment,” said an AIU official, on condition of anonymity.
Inauspicious Pitru Paksha
The period of Pitru Paksha is considered inauspicious to make any new purchases like gold or begin a new venture. Thus, cases of gold smuggling were not detected. The period ended on September 23 and smuggling returned as the festive season of Navratri began.