Customs authorities in Goa on Friday seized gold worth Rs.95.76 lakh from an Air Asia flight and arrested four persons, including two women, while they were trying to smuggle it from Malaysia to Goa’s Dabolim international airport, an official said.
A customs department official said on Friday that the seizure was made from accused Chivagnanam Muruka, 46, Paneerselvam Balaji, 33, Prabakaran Laxmi, 39, and David Arulmani, 37, all from Chennai who had arrived in Goa on Air Asia flight AK-96.
“The gold was hidden in a hollow pipe above the wheels of their baggage trolleys,” the spokesperson said, adding that this was the first time that gold was seized from a Malaysia-inbound flight.
Earlier this month, chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs Najib Shah had said that gold smuggling was a “major challenge” for the enforcement officials.
Dabolim airport has emerged as a major transit facility for international smugglers for ferrying gold to Karnataka and Kerala, especially contraband gold shipments inbound from the Gulf region.