An Air India cabin crew member was arrested at Kochi airport in Kerala for attempting to smuggle gold. Shafi Sharaf, a native of Wayanad, was found with 1,487 grams of gold paste wrapped around his forearms. His plan was to conceal the gold with his shirt sleeves and pass through the green customs clearance channel, reserved for passengers without dutiable goods. However, Customs officials received confidential information that an Air India crew member was transporting gold on the Bahrain-Kozhikode-Kochi flight.
Shafi was apprehended upon arrival in Kochi from Bahrain and taken to the customs preventive wing for questioning. A photo shared by a news agency showed the gold paste wrapped around his arms. The investigation is ongoing, and officials are working to determine the extent of the smuggling operation.
In related news, at Chennai International Airport, gold bars worth Rs 3.32 crore were seized, and two passengers were detained, including a Sri Lankan national. The Customs department discovered a total of 68 gold bars weighing 6.8 kilogrammes hidden in the luggage of the passengers who arrived in Chennai from Singapore on Tuesday. The authorities acted on specific inputs that led them to the passengers.
Gold smuggling is a significant problem in India, with smugglers exploiting the high price of gold in the country. The government has implemented several measures to combat the smuggling of the precious metal, including increasing customs duties and cracking down on illegal imports. Despite these efforts, smuggling continues to be a lucrative business, with many smugglers using innovative methods to conceal their activities.
The Air India incident highlights the challenges of detecting gold smuggling by aircrew members, who may have access to restricted areas and are subject to less stringent security checks than passengers. The case also raises concerns about the integrity of airline employees and the need for tighter screening and monitoring measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
In conclusion, the arrest of an Air India crew member for attempting to smuggle gold and the seizure of gold bars at Chennai International Airport demonstrate the continuing problem of gold smuggling in India. The government and law enforcement agencies must remain vigilant and take proactive measures to combat this illegal activity.
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J. R. D. Tata
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