Investigators probing the gold smuggling racket at airport said arrested Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) sub-inspector Murari Lal Meena was the brains behind the operation. "It was Murari who had suggested that carriers swap their bags containing gold with CISF personnel to avoid being caught by Customs officials," said a Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) official.
The DRI on Saturday arrested five persons, including CISF sub-inspectors, for allegedly smuggling 11kg gold worth Rs 3 crore into the country. The other arrested CISF sub-inspector, Uday Singh Meena, was heading the CISF's Quick Response Team at the time of his arrest. He was also a trainer. Both the officers were suspended following their arrest.
The CISF is responsible for security at all commercial airports in India.
Bags of CISF officers are not checked. as they provide security at the airport.
Customs officials are, however, frisked, before their entry into and exit from the airport, said an official.
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on Friday had arrested five people including Meena and his colleague Uday Singh Meena for facilitating gold smuggling through the international airport. The three others were smugglers who brought gold from Dubai and used the CISF officers to take it out of the airport without being caught by the customs department.
Officials said Murari met smuggling kingpin Sandeep Rathod nearly a year ago and suggested that he use CISF personnel to smuggle gold into the country. Officials believe Rathod's team made 40 trips to Dubai in the last eight months. According to investigators, Murari also worked for another smuggling network headed by one Praveen Jain, who had formed his gang after parting ways with Rathod four months ago. "Rathod was not aware of this," a DRI official said. It is learnt that Jain smuggled in 20 kg gold in the last four months. DRI officials are looking for Jain.
Murari allegedly lured Uday into the racket by promising him a handsome amount, sources said. DRI officials searched Uday's house and recovered gold ornaments which they believe he had accepted as part payment for his help in smuggling in gold. into the country.
Uday, who was posted at the international airport, would allegedly swap bags with the carrier inside the airport's toilets and deliver it to Rathod. outside the terminal.
"At times, Murari went with Rathod to collect the bag from Uday," an official said.
The DRI is also probing the import of silver and rhodium plated jewellery by Rathod's firm through Customs' air cargo wing.