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Gold worth Rs 45 lakh seized at Varanasi airport

One of the passengers who was caught at the Varanasi airport smuggling gold concealed under a wig that he was wearing

Customs officials seized gold worth Rs 45 lakh at the Varanasi airport from two passengers who arrived on an Air India flight from Sharjah on Saturday and were trying to smuggle the contraband into the country.

Acting on a tip-off, Customs officials searched one of the passengers who had concealed a pouch containing the gold in paste form a wig that he was wearing for the purpose after having shaved off his hair

The search revealed 646 grams of gold, valued at around Rs 33 lakhs.

Another passenger on the same flight was found to have 238 grams of gold, worth Rs12.14 lakhs. The gold was concealed between layers of plastic used as packaging material to wrap a carton that he was bringing in.

The UAE is a major gold buying hub as prices are much cheaper than India and no questions are asked from shoppers. Passengers out to make a fast buck often act on their own, but are also known to be roped in by smuggling syndicates to act as carriers, according to Customs officials.

Smuggling the precious metal in paste form has emerged as a new modus operandi that has also been found to be used at other airports such as Hyderabad recently. Gold in paste form was concealed inside the bandages tied to the calves of both legs of the passenger, according to Customs officials.

Also read: Customs officials seize 7.3 kg of gold at Hyderabad airport smuggled from Dubai by Sudanese nationals