Flight Attendant Abdul Hafiz Khatri, who was carrying gold bars and a packet of diamonds was caught by a senior AIU official while leaving the International terminal of the Mumbai airport to hand them over.
The incident took place when Jet Airway’s flight 9W 543 (Dubai-Mumbai) landed at around 2.30 am when the passengers along with the crewmember were dispersing from the arrivals. Based on profiling, officers of AIU intercepted Khatri who was coming from Dubai and recovered 4kg of gold that is valued at Rs.95.3 lakhs and145 carat diamonds that valued at Rs. 11.6 lakhs.
The confiscated gold bars and teh packet of diamonds and (below) Abdul Hafiz Khatri
The receiver of the consignment Mohammad Afzal Qureshi, who was standing at the city side of the arrivals was also apprehended outside the terminal. During interrogations, Khatri admitted that a passenger had handed him the gold and diamonds in the flight.
A Customs Officer explained, “We had inputs that Jet Airway's crew could be involved in the incidents of smuggling and hence surveillance was increased. The officers kept a watch on the Dubai crew that was nearing the exit of the arrivals. Khatri when asked to accompany for personal search, suddenly started complaining of stomachache and giddiness. This raised our suspicion and a search was conducted. ”
A senior Customs Official added, “He kept saying he wanted to use the washroom it was this time that the officers suspected that he wanted to use the washroom to throw the gold. This is one of the rarest of the rare cases that diamonds are smuggled. Khatri admitted clearing the yellow metal whenever he flew to Gulf Countries i.e. past 8 times.Both Khtari and Qureshi have been arrested and shall be remanded to judicial custody.”
22-year-old Khatri, has been working in Jet Airways since the past four years and resides in Pydhoinie near Mumbadevi.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said, “The matter is under investigation and we cannot comment on this issue. Jet Airways is extending all co-operation to the investigating agencies. It is mandatory for all Jet Airways employees to comply with the company’s rules and regulations and the prevalent customs, immigration and security laws. Any violation of these will lead to disciplinary action by the company and action as per appropriate rule of law.”
In another case, two passengers Sagar Janardan Dave and Rasiklal who arrived by flight no KQ 202 from Kenya were caught smuggling gold. The two smugglers, who were holding Madagascar passports (but of Indian origin) were intercepted after they cleared themselves through green channel and recovered 3 kg crude unmarked gold bars. These gold bars are valued at Rs.74,04,120 and recovered gold was seized. Both were arrested.