Air India Express Cabin Crew Arrested for Smuggling Gold

Air India Express cabin crew arrested for gold smuggling in Kochi. For more details check out the video.

An Air India Express flight cabin crew was arrested today by the Customs at Cochin International Airport for smuggling over 1.4 kg gold. The arrested person has been identified as Shafi Sharaf, a native of Wayanad. The Customs Preventive Commissionerate had received the secret information that Shafi, a crew of Bahrain-Kozhikode-Kochi service, was bringing 1,487 grams of gold. He had taken Flight IX 474 from Bahrain to arrive in India around 8:30 p.m. The gold was wrapped around his hands, according to ANI. 

The accused intended to pass through the green channel by wrapping the gold around his hands, and covering it with his shirt sleeves. Officials said that Shafi is currently being interrogated. Meanwhile, Air India Express said the arrested crew has been placed on suspension with immediate effect. The airline said it has zero tolerance for such behaviour and will be dealt with iron hand. It said that such individuals will face termination of service following receipt of the report from the investigative authorities. In another related development, the Customs sleuths also seized gold bars worth Rs 3.32 crore at Cochin International Airport.

Notably, many "carriers" and jewellers with connections to the Gulf are allegedly involved in the Kerala gold smuggling ring; their operations are allegedly made easier by corrupt enforcement agents and even airline employees.

What is gold smuggling and its common practice in India?  

The act of carrying goods into a country through unauthorised means is referred to as smuggling. This is done to either bring legal items into the country without paying customs and taxes or to carry unlawful goods. In nations like India where there is a great demand for gold, it is frequently smuggled in from places where it is more affordable due to reduced taxes. India is notorious for its smuggling because of its high demand for gold. 

Currently, taxes and charges on imported gold add 20 percent to the price. 75 percent of the gold entering India is smuggled through the United Arab Emirates. Many steps are being taken by the government and law enforcement to address the issue. Even those who are found trying to smuggle gold into the country are being prosecuted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.