Airport police arrest four Indians with more than 5kg goldThe Metropolitan Police Airport Security Office confiscated 5,81465 grams of gold from four Indian nationals, including three women, from a parking area at the Tribhuvan International Airport, on Thursday.
The Metropolitan Police Airport Security Office confiscated 5,814.65 grams of gold from four Indian nationals, including three women, from a parking area at the Tribhuvan International Airport, on Thursday.
According to the airport security office, Jatin Jain (aged 19), Sunita (44), Babita Garg (41), and Sarita Jain (46) had smuggled the gold undetected through customs. All four had entered Nepal from Bangkok via Flight Number SL 220 of Thai Lion Air.
“All the individuals had iron-coated the gold jewellery. They smuggled the gold undetected through the airport customs,” Senior Superintendent of Police Sandip Bhandari, chief of the airport security office, told the Post. “But we arrested them from the parking area following a tip-off.”
Jatin was arrested with a bangle and a necklace weighing 497.650 grams, while Sunita was arrested with six bangles and two necklaces weighing 1,771 grams. Similarly, Babita and Sarita both had six bangles and two necklaces weighing 1,773 grams. The market value of the total smuggled gold is around Rs30 million.
All four individuals are said to be from the Indian state of Rajasthan.
“Our responsibility is to provide security to the airport. It is the customs department’s duty to check who brings what. We could arrest the four only after we received a tip-off from the customs,” said Bhandari. “They have been sent to the Department of Customs for further investigation.”
According to the officials at the customs department, they arrested another Indian individual of the same group with a gold bangle, plated with steel, which weighed half a kg.
“We could not identify the gold carried by the other four individuals, as it was plated with iron. But then we were suspicious about a bangle worn by another Indian national and checked it, and we found that it was gold, plated with steel,” Gajendra Kumar Thakur, chief of the airport customs, told the Post. “We then gave a tip-off to the airport police about other individuals carrying similar iron-plated jewellery following which the other four were arrested when they were about to leave the airport.”
According to Thakur, all five knew each other.
This is the latest case of gold being smuggled through the Tribhuvan International Airport, the only international airport of the country. Prior to this, on March 17, the airport security office had arrested Padampathi Pandey, 49, also from the parking area with two rings and two bangles weighing 140 grams. A week later, they arrested another person, Fahimuddin Miya, from the parking lot while collecting five bangles weighing 249 grams that she had smuggled out of the airport.
According to police officers, many smaller gold-smuggling rackets are active through the airport. Smugglers use mules to carry small quantities of legally permitted gold (50gms) which is later collected to form a big haul that is sold later in the local market or smuggled across the border.
“People are now using new methods to smuggle gold through the airport. Some even hide gold in the handle of a suitcase,” said Bhandari.
According to the Home Ministry, approximately 115 kilos of gold has been confiscated across the country leading to 128 arrests between February 2018 and February 2019.