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Airport officer among five held for gold smuggling

A Terminal Manager at the city’s international airport was among five persons arrested by Customs sleuths in three separate gold smuggling cases.
Gold collectively valued at Rs. 1.16 crore was also confiscated.

Kanumetta Jagadish Babu, Terminal Manager with Mumbai airport operator GVK, and his two associates – Shahbaaz Khan and Shaikh Mohsin – were nabbed today for allegedly trying to smuggle in 14 gold bars worth Rs. 39.58 lakh brought from United Arab Emirates, a Customs official said.

“In a joint operation by Customs and Central Industry Security Force, a GVK Terminal Manager (Babu) was caught while trying to smuggle in 14 gold bars,” said A P S Suri, Commissioner of Customs.

“The gold bars weighing 1.62 kg were received by Babu on an aerobridge from a passenger (his aide Shahbaaz Khan), who had arrived from Sharjah. Babu then handed over the consignment to his aide Shaikh Mohsin, who was waiting outside the airport,” said another officer.

The Customs sleuths, who had been keeping a watch on Babu’s activities, subsequently caught him and his two aides.

Babu had been into gold smuggling since the past few months and had smuggled in the yellow metal 8-9 times earlier too, the officials said. The Manager used to get Rs. 30,000 as commission for facilitating safe passage of one kg of illegal consignment of gold from the airport, they said.

In another case, a passenger, Mohammed Cherkala Moosa, who arrived from Dubai via Bahrain, was caught with two kg of gold valued at Rs. 48.5 lakh. Moosa was subsequently arrested.

Another passenger, Nadiya Mubin Bagdadi, who arrived from Abu Dhabi, was found in possession of 10 gold bars collectively valued at Rs. 28.27 lakh. Bagdadi was subsequently arrested, the officials said.

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