Pune: Pune Customs Department officials nabbed a first time flier at Pune airport for smuggling gold worth Rs 17.87 lakh on a Dubai-Pune Spice Jet flight on Sunday. The passenger had hidden the gold in the form of 288 press buttons attached to 48 baby diapers. The customs officials have not disclosed the name of the passenger, who is a Mumbai resident.
According to officials from the Pune Customs Department, the passenger had hidden these diapers in his baggage and gold was found when the bags were in the scanner. Initially, the officials couldn’t locate the precious metal. However, a re-check found that the gold was hidden in the form of press buttons.
“The diapers are wrapped by the company. However, these diapers were wrapped in various plastic packets containing four or five diapers each. The passenger was travelling alone from Dubai, which raised suspicion. The gold weighed 606.83 gram and was valued at Rs 17,87,114,” said the officers.
“The gold recovered from the passenger was seized under the reasonable belief that the same was attempted to be smuggled into India. It was liable for confiscation under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. The passenger has admitted to its possession, carriage and concealment,” said Manish Dudpuri, Assistant Commissioner (Customs).
Dudpuri said officers of Pune Customs are keeping a close watch on smuggling of gold and narcotics during the upcoming festival season. “There is also a lucrative reward scheme for people providing information regarding smuggling/sale of narcotic drugs and tax evasion. Such information may be provided to Mahesh Patil, Deputy Commissioner, Preventive, by dialling 020-26051846,” said a senior official. On November 11, the customs had seized gold biscuits worth Rs 29 lakh weighing 933.11 gms after finding them hidden beneath a seat of a Spice Jet flight arriving from Dubai.