New Delhi: Gold worth about Rs 130 crore was seized and over 218 people arrested while allegedly trying to smuggle the yellow metal last year at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
In several instances, smugglers used poor people, newly wed couples and airport staff as carriers to avoid suspicion and prevent detection, customs officials said.
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A total of 370 cases of gold smuggling were registered last year and 218 persons arrested, they said About 532 kg of gold valued at about Rs 130.1 crore was seized in these cases, the officials said.
"The seizure is the result of heightened vigil at the airport by the officials and intelligence which we have been getting through our sources," said Vinayak Azaad, Additional Commissioner of customs at IGIA airport.
He said the smugglers hid gold in belts, bags, trolleys and carry bags. They also tried to bring in gold via less suspicious routes instead of the gulf countries.
Passengers coming via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok,
Singapore and Nepal are usually under the surveillance of the customs officials to check gold smuggling, a senior customs official said.
During 2014-15, a total of 230 people were arrested by customs officials in 388 cases of gold smuggling. About 596 kg of gold worth Rs 155 crore was seized.
In 2013-14, 363 cases were registered and 353 kg gold worth Rs 92 crore was seized. A total of 123 people were arrested, the official said.