Chennai: Customs officials at Chennai international airport detained 17 carriers bringing gold from Colombo on Sunday and 2.5kg gold of 24 karats worth Rs 79 lakh were recovered.
Customs officials said that the accused came in two groups. While 15 men arrived by Sri Lankan Airlines flight and two came on Indigo flight. All of them were regular travellers and were carrying a single piece of hand luggage. They seemed nervous and tired and in some kind of pain.
All the 17 passengers are from Ramanatha Puram district of Tamil Nadu. Officials said they may have been borrowed by the same kingpin.
During the interrogation, they known to carrying gold in rubbery form hidden in the rectum. All of them voluntarily agreed to refuse it, 21 bundles were seized.
Customs officials said, Azarudeen Kadar Mohideen,(26), was carrying 3 bundles, Mubeen Ahmed, (26) and Naseer Ahmad, (40) were each found with 2 bundles. The rest were carrying 1 bundle each. On removal by the gold assayer, 18 ingots weighing a total of 2.5 kg worth Rs 79 lakh were seized.
Customs officials held Seethamalani,( 53), Wimalawathi Kumarihami,( 47), Pathima Parsana, (29), Kalyani Kumudulatha, (46), and Sithy Rajeena, (46). All the women were Sri Lankan passport holders.
They had arrived from Colombo on Sri Lankan Airlines flight. A search led to the recovery of 8 cut bits of gold and 10 crude gold chains all of 24 karat purity, weighing 1291gm worth Rs 41 lakh.