Million-dollar gold stash in aircraft toilet

2013-11-20 23:15
(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock) (http://www.shutterstock.com)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kolkota - An Indian airplane cleaning crew stumbled across 24 gold bars worth over $1m stashed in an aircraft toilet compartment, officials said on Wednesday.

India, which rivals China as the world's biggest gold consumer, has witnessed a sharp rise in smuggling since import duties were hiked three times this year to dampen demand for the precious metal.

The plane, belonging to private carrier Jet Airways, was being cleaned at Kolkata airport on Tuesday after a trip from the eastern city of Patna. Indian media reported the plane had been travelling from Bangkok.

"The cleaning staff of the airport were going though their routine duties and found two bags in the toilets of the plane," director of the airport B.P. Mishra told AFP.

The 24 one-kilogram gold bars "have not been claimed by anyone. No arrest has been made," senior customs official RS Meena said.

Meena estimated the value of the haul at about 70 million rupees, or $1.1m.

Gold is hugely popular in India, especially during religious festivals and wedding seasons, and is the second-biggest contributor after oil to India's massive current account deficit - the broadest measure of trade.

The government has been seeking to reduce gold demand and narrow its deficit by hiking bullion import duties.

Indians also buy gold in the form of jewellery, bars and coins as a hedge against inflation.

"This is the fifth [suspected gold smuggling] incident in the past one month," said B P Sharma, director of Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International airport.

Every which way

"Smuggling of gold through the airport has risen" as the hike in the import duty of gold has made the metal costlier, Sharma said.

Last month, intelligence officials recovered gold worth 95 million rupees from the toilet of a plane after it landed in the southern city of Chennai en route to New Delhi from Dubai.

Four Sri Lankan nationals were held on smuggling charges.

In August, customs officials seized smuggled gold worth 11 million rupees from a passenger travelling from Singapore to the Indian capital.

Thirty-one gold bars were found in specially-designed pockets in the suspect's trousers.

In Kolkata, a 28-year-old man flying to India from Bangkok was recently arrested with gold bars concealed in large torches, officials said.

In another incident, a man travelling to India from Dubai was caught in Kolkata while trying to smuggle five gold bars in his body, they added.

Read more on:    india  |  smuggling

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.