Four people, including an employee of Air India SATS, have been arrested by customs officials for allegedly trying to smuggle gold worth about Rs 95 lakh into the country at the Delhi airport, according to an official statement issued today.
Air India SATS, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Air India Limited and Singapore-based SATS Limited, offers end-to-end ground handling services such as passenger and baggage handling, aircraft interior cleaning and cargo handling services, among others.
A passenger was intercepted after his arrival from Bangkok on Tuesday. He intended to depart to Ahmedabad on the next day (Wednesday).
Upon verifying the checked-in baggage details of the passenger, it was found that the actual weight of his checked in baggage was eight kg, whereas the baggage tag indicated the weight as 11 kg, the statement issued by the customs said.
Further investigation revealed that the Air India SATS employee had taken out three gold bars of one kg each from the passenger's baggage in the underground baggage handling area of terminal three of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
These three gold bars weighing three kg in total were recovered from under the seat of an electric tractor operated by Air India SATS, it said.
The AI SATS employee further revealed that the gold was to be delivered to another person near Dwarka, Delhi, the statement said.
Accordingly, a team of officers immediately proceeded to the pre-designated spot as revealed by the AI SATS employee and apprehended two more persons along with a car and a motor cycle, it said.
Investigations so far have revealed that the Air India SATS employee was acting on the instructions of and in complicity with his supervisor, and the two of them had smuggled gold in this manner eight times earlier involving a total of 21 kg of gold.
Besides the aforementioned three kg gold, the car and the motorcycle have also been seized, the customs department said.
The market value of three kg gold is assessed to be Rs 94.95 lakh, it said, adding that the syndicate had smuggled gold worth Rs 7.53 crore in the past using the same modus operandi.
Four persons of the syndicate, including the Air India SATS employee and the passenger, have been placed under arrest, the statement said.