Two air passengers returning to Chandigarh from Sharjah were caught with 3.86kg gold, valued at Rs 1.2 crore, at the Chandigarh International Airport on Monday.

The passengers, who are in their 20s and hail from Ludhiana and Jalandhar, had concealed the gold, in the form of 24-carat gold biscuits, in their shoes.

They had left for Sharjah from Amritsar on August 31 and landed in Chandigarh via Air India flight 188 on their return. Their names have been withheld due to ongoing investigation, said Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials.

Sources said the duo was apprehended on secret information after they crossed the green channel without declaring the gold.

To be prosecuted under Customs Act

The youths were arrested and booked under the Customs Act, 1962, and will be produced in a Mohali court on Tuesday. This is the third case out of a total of 45 seizures this year to prosecute gold smugglers.

According to the customs law, a smuggler is prosecuted only if the gold seizure is above Rs 1 crore. Otherwise, it is a bailable offence and smugglers face adjudication process at the zonal commissioner level.

Other two cases where gold recoveries reached the Mohali district courts include seizure of 8kg gold on January 30 this year, and the recovery of 7kg gold from a Bathinda man on July 3. In both cases, the DRI had made the seizures.

Nearly 50kg gold worth around Rs 15 crore has been seized at the Chandigarh airport since international operations began here in September 2016.

Why smuggling is rampant vijay nanda

Gold smuggling is rampant due to its high purity and lesser price in middle-east markets as compared to India. The price difference can be as high as Rs 5 lakh per kg. The smugglers or their couriers disguise themselves as genuine passengers to escape the customs duty.

Gold rush

Gold weighing over 14kg, valued at around Rs 4.2 crore has been seized at the airport in the past two months.

August 2: Nagpur man caught with 9 gold biscuits, weighing over 1kg, worth Rs 31 lakh tied around his waist

July 9: 1.16kg gold worth Rs 35.5 lakh recovered from a Dubai-returned passenger

July 6: 800gm gold seized from an Amritsar man

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Vijay Nanda

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