62-yr-old was paid Rs 3k to smuggle 1 kg gold

A day after Customs officials nabbed a teenager involved in a smuggling racket, they arrested a senior citizen trying to smuggle 1 kg gold in the wee hours yesterday. Deputy Commis-sioner of Customs, Sameer Wankhede, intercepted 62-year-old Haresh Sati Kumar and while frisking him found gold worth Rs 30 lakh concealed in his vest, which was specially tailored to hold the ingot.

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According to a source, Kumar had landed at CSIA at around 4 am on Friday. While walking through the green channel, he was stopped by Customs officials, who conducted a body search, which unravelled his sinister ploy to smuggle gold. Sources further revealed that Kumar is a heart patient and has also undergone surgery for his heart condition. “While other carriers are paid Rs 10,000-15,000, Kumar was promised only Rs 3,000,” said a Customs official, on condition of anonymity.

“While giving his statement, he confessed to his crime and he also maintained that he is not in this profession by choice,” said the Customs official. Officers also nabbed Shailesh Soni who was waiting in the arrival section to take the delivery of the consignment.

Commissioner customs at CSIA, P M Saleem confirmed that Kumar was arrested with the gold. “The matter is currently under investigation, and we are investigating other aspects of the case,” said Saleem. Kumar has been booked under various provisions of Indian Customs Act, including Sections 77 and 104.

New strategies
With the latest arrest, Customs department at Mumbai, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), have cracked two cases within five hours, exposing how the smuggling mafia operating from foreign countries are taking advantage of vulnerable juveniles and senior citizens.

On Thursday evening, a 17-year-old boy was caught by Customs officials while smuggling Rs 72 lakh in Indian currency. Customs officials also found Iridium powder worth Rs 60 lakh concealed under tamarind in his suitcase.

“Smuggling bigwigs are changing their operational strategies every time. The exploitation of teenagers and elderly people points to the varying tactics,” said a senior Customs official. 

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