The DRI Mumbai unit arrested Puneet Bhavrani, a resident of Indore under provisions of Customs Act. He has been remanded in judicial custody.
Bhavrani had arrived from Muscat via Dubai early Friday at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
DRI officials said that they had intelligence that a passenger was likely to arrive from Dubai with gold on his person. Officials said they kept watch and found Bhavrani’s movement a bit suspicious.
“Before he was to go through the green channel (security check by customs), he went to the toilet meant for disabled persons near gate 66 not knowing that he was under surveillance. That he used the toilet for differently abled persons had further raised suspicion.” said an officer.
No sooner did he walk out than the officials went inside and removed the belt made of cotton cloth with two pouches thrown in the dustbin of the toilet. As he was walking through the security check, the officials confronted him and asked him whether it was his belt. He initially denied but later admitted it was his. He also revealed that it was gold paste.
Upon examination and valuation of the gold dust it was found to be 24-karat gold dust in wax having gross weight of 2,669 grams valued at Rs 1.50 crore as per government approver. He was placed under arrest and during interrogation he admitted that he had visited Dubai and brought gold paste at someone’s behest for monetary consideration of Rs 20,000. He refused to name the person for whom he got the gold, the official said.
“We want to interrogate him to know who was supposed to retrieve the gold after he had dumped it in the toilet. We suspect that he is a part of a syndicate which may have advised him to dump the contraband if caught and some insider was supposed to take it out.” added a senior officer.
On August 28, Customs officials at the airport also arrested two Sudanese nationals with 2kg of gold that they smuggled from Dubai. Officials said that their accomplices created a commotion in a bid to distract and help these two Sudanese escape.