The fear of rise in the smuggling of gold after the hike in customs duty, reflected in the recent Union Budget, came true at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad on Friday. Customs officials at the Ahmedabad airport seized 1.2 kilograms of gold from a passenger from Dubai.
Shabir Ismail Lokhandwalla, a resident of Mumbai, was caught smuggling 1.2 kilograms of gold chain by the customs officials at the international airport in Ahmedabad. According to the officials the total amount of gold seized was worth Rs 35 lakh.
Lokhandwalla was travelling in a flight connecting Dubai to Mumbai. According to customs officials, the accused told them that he had boarded a flight to Mumbai via Ahmedabad because he could not get tickets in other low-cost flights to Mumbai .
After his flight from Dubai landed at the Ahmedabad airport, Lokhandwalla walked through the Customs Green Channel at the airport. The customs officials on duty got suspicious because of his strange behavior.
"Owing to his suspicious body language at the Customs Green Channel, the passenger was spotted by sepoy RV Desai. Subsequently, he was frisked by a customs officer during which 135 gold chains weighing around 1.2 kilograms was found in a hidden pocket inside his trouser," said a customs official. "We got suspicious when we saw the person was adjusting his trouser repeatedly. "
According to the customs officials Lokhandwalla said that he was carrying the gold for someone else for a fee of Rs 40,000. "He admitted that he has been flying to India every month to deliver such packets from Dubai," said the custom official.
A passenger is allowed to bring up to 1 kilogram of gold by paying duty. However, quantities greater than 1 kilogram are seized and the person carrying it is prosecuted under Customs Act 1962.
The customs officials said that that Lokhandwalla has been booked for not declaring that he was carrying more than 1 kilogram of gold.
The recent Union Budget doubled the customs duty on standard gold from 2% to 4% and on non-standard gold from 5% to 10% from the financial year 2012-13.