The seized gold was smuggled from Dubai via Mangaluru international airport at around 80.30 in the morning through Jet Airways flight number 9w53. The international passenger, by name Haris Panalam Mohammed Kunhi directly moved by a Maruti Suzuki Alto car to Pumpwell located in the city and met another person Faizal. On an information, the DRI officials were awaiting the smuggler on the same spot and on strong suspicion questioned both when they were seriously dealing with a business.
Since both of them had no reasonable explanations about the business being transacted by them at the said place, they were brought to DRI office for further enquiry. Upon examination of the contents of the baggage of Haris Panalam, it was found that the suspected gold was concealed inside one portable wireless amplifier.
Further detailed examination and testing resulted in the recovery and seizure of 698.200 grams of 24 carat gold plates of foreign origin valued at Rs. 20,24,780. It was found that the smugglers in an attempt to avoid detection during the customs check at the airport had melted and moulded the gold into thin plates and then cut them into the shapes of letter ‘E’ and ‘I’. These ‘E’ and ‘I’ shaped gold plates were then coated with mercury and tightly packed to fit into the transformer (coil) portion of the amplifier. During the course of investigation both the accused admitted the offence committed by them.
The passenger Haris Panalam Mohammed Kunhi stated that for the lure of money and free air tickets he agreed to carry the portable amplifier having gold plates concealed inside it, from Dubai to Mangaluru and after getting cleared from the airport, he had instructions to handover the item to Faisal who would be waiting near the Pumpwell circle, as per the prior arrangement.
Faisal on his part admitted that he has been involved in similar smuggling operations on earlier occasions too and used to earn commission for his job of taking delivery of the smuggled gold and carrying it back to Kasargod where it would once again switch hands and through another agent reach the kingpin of the racket. Both the persons were arrested under Section 104 of the Customs Act 1962 and produced before the chief judicial magistrate, Mangaluru who remanded them to ten days of judicial custody.
Though, the arrests have put a temporary brake on the smuggling operations they are likely to revive after a few days of lull unless the key members of the gang are apprehended. All out efforts are being made and the investigation has been intensified to reach the top rung operators of the smuggling racket.