Mumbai: Cases of gold smuggling at the two city airports have gone up over six times this year, as the Customs department has recorded as many as 497 cases in four months from April, as compared to 79 cases in the corresponding period last year, officials said.
"Last year, between April and July, we had seized 61.46 kg gold, while this year till July we seized 403.52 kg. In that period last year, we had registered 79 cases, while this year 497 cases have been registered till July," Milind Lanjewar, Additional Commissioner of Customs, Airport Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Airport, said.
He claimed that there was a substantial rise in cases getting registered this year.
"Increase in the prices of yellow metal is the main reason for the growing smuggling cases. Its demand has not come down and even there was no policy change in the budget," Lanjewar said.
Meanwhile, AIU sleuths today registered three cases of gold smuggling and seized 14.7 kg gold valued at Rs 3.28 crore and four persons were arrested, officials said.
In the first case, two persons - Mohamed Akran and Mohammed Tanweez - were arrested and 2.465 kg of gold worth Rs 64 lakh seized from them. The gold was seized from a domestic passenger Akram who arrived from Goa. The yellow metal was handed over to him by Tanweez, who had come from Dubai.
In another case, they arrested one Fayas Hussain, who had arrived in Chennai and recovered two garlands which had 22 cello tape-wrapped packets containing 32 gold pieces and eight gold bars weighing 10.7 kilograms and valued at Rs 2.26 crore. The gold was given to Hussain by an international passenger coming from Muskat in Chennai.
In the third case the sleuths seized 1,464 grams gold from one Abid Mohammed Kashif, who had arrived from Dubai.