‘A passenger can be arrested for smuggling gold if the value is more than Rs. 20 lakh’
For the Customs officials in Coimbatore, it was an unusual and one of the rare instances when a passenger from Sri Lanka came to Coimbatore on October 20 with gold concealed in his body.
On inquiry, the passenger Sathiyaseelan admitted that he had swallowed 20 pellets of gold. “It is a rare case. Usually, passengers use this method of concealment (swallowing the goods) for drugs or precious stone. They don’t do it for gold as it is risky and is not of high value,” G. Sreenivasa Rao Commissioner of Central GST and Central Excise told presspersons here on Monday.
The passenger was admitted to a private hospital at Kalapatti on Friday. An X-ray initially showed some foreign objects in the para-umbilical region. He was given laxatives and by Sunday night, 19 pellets were retrieved. By Monday morning, all the 20 pellets were recovered. Each pellet was covered with a black tape and the passenger had swallowed them before boarding the flight in Colombo. The gold recovered was 434 gm and is worth approximately Rs. 13 lakh. The tax evaded is Rs. 1.69 lakh.
“We have confiscated the gold. According to law a passenger who smuggles gold can be arrested only if the value is more than Rs. 20 lakh. So, we have not arrested this passenger. He does not have any previous case though he has travelled to India before. We will put him on our database now,” Mr. Rao said.
According to an official press release, the health of the passenger is stable and he is being interrogated by the officials. Since April this year, the Customs officials here have seized 12.14 kg of gold from passengers at Coimbatore International Airport and the value of the gold is Rs. 3.69 crore. Of this, nearly nine kg is from passengers who came by Sri Lankan Airlines, which started operations between Colombo and Coimbatore in July. Coimbatore has direct flight connectivity to three international destinations: Colombo, Singapore, and Sharjah