Dubai-bound passenger held at IGI with over $52K

Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | 05-08-2022 | 04:58 pm

Dubai-bound passenger held at IGI with over $52K

Customs officials on Friday said that they have arrested a passenger who was found in possession of $52,900 (equivalent to Rs 41,89,680) from Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here.The passenger was intending to fly to Dubai by flight IX-141 from T3 on Thursday.Offloaded on the basis of suspicion, the man and his luggage was checked and the US currency recovered from plastic thread roll in his trolley bag.The foreign currencies was seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, and the man arrested under Section 104.

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AI announces direct flight between Pune & Ahd
Times of India | 7 hours ago | 13-08-2022 | 01:47 pm
Times of India
7 hours ago | 13-08-2022 | 01:47 pm

PUNE: Tata-owned Air India on Saturday announced the launch of its first direct flight between Ahmedabad and Pune with effect from August 20. The addition of this new route will cater to the growing demand for air connectivity between the two smart cities and growing commercial and education hubs, airline officials said. Air India flight AI0481 will depart from Ahmedabad Airport at 10:45 hours and arrive at Pune airport at 12:10hours. Flight AI0482 will depart from Pune airport at 12:40 hours and arrive at Ahmedabad airport at 14:15 hours. The estimated travel time between the two cities will be 85-95 minutes. The introduction of the new route between Ahmedabad and Pune has been made possible by the restoration of Air India’s aircraft that had been grounded for prolonged periods due to the pandemic and other reasons. Commenting on the launch, Campbell Wilson, MD and CEO, Air India, said, “We are excited to launch flights between Ahmedabad and Pune, which are key growth centers in Gujarat and Maharashtra, respectively. This new addition is set to improve Air India’s domestic connectivity and empower our customers with more travel options. We look forward to further augmenting our domestic connectivity and introducing new routes over the coming months as more aircraft return to service." The airline’s narrow body fleet currently stands at 70 aircraft of which 54 are currently operating. The remaining aircraft will return to service by early next year, officials said.

AI announces direct flight between Pune & Ahd
210 kg gold smuggled through int’l airport in two rackets, only 12 kg seized
Ahmedabad Mirror | 2 days ago | 11-08-2022 | 06:00 am
Ahmedabad Mirror
2 days ago | 11-08-2022 | 06:00 am

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on the intervening night of August 5-6 arrested an international passenger on a Fly Dubai flight attempting to smuggle in 1.075 kg gold worth Rs 60 lakh in his rectum and underwear, while the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Customs on August 7 busted another passenger attempting the same. This is just the tip of the iceberg.Mirror has now learnt that two gangs of organised gold smuggling racketeers had earlier this year managed to smuggle 210 kg of gold with the help of airport employees at the international terminal (T2) of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad.The racket busted on July 11 involved illegal gold changing hands inside the VIP lounge that is located before the immigration counter and then taken out of the terminal through a door connecting it with the departure area. A terminal manager and three sweepers of T2 among others were accused in this case for ferrying the undeclared gold out of the airport. DRI had seized 3.85 kg gold worth Rs 2.02 crore in this case.The second racket, busted on July 24, involved gold carriers passing on the illicit gold to an employee manning the counter of the duty-free shop, located between the immigration and Customs counters at the international terminal. The duty-free shop employee is accused of being the middleman enabling duty evasion by carrying the gold out of the terminal using his access card. DRI seized 8 kg gold worth Rs 4.21 crore in this case.Heavy smugglingthis yearSources revealed that a total of 210 kg gold was smuggled over several months this year, with 50 kg gold passing through the VIP lounge and 160 kg gold passing through the duty-free shop, right under the noses of a number of security and vigilance agencies at the international airport.During investigation, the accused in the VIP lounge smuggling case had revealed they had managed to conduct at least 13 landings of illicit gold before being busted by the DRI. Assuming that at least a similar amount of gold (3.85 kg) was smuggled each time, the total falls to 50 kg gold.However, the racket that was being run from the duty-free shop was much bigger, said sources. Accused have allegedly revealed that there has been about 15-20 landings of smuggled gold facilitated before the DRI busted their modus operandi. At 8 kg per flight, the quantum of smuggled gold being investigated in this case is assumed to exceed 110 kg.Investigation is currently underway into how many carriers were involved in gold smuggling for these two different operations, who ran these rackets possibly from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).The Customs duty on imported gold was raised on July 1 from 7.5% to 12.5%. However, since imported gold also attracts 2.5% Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess, this took the total applicable import duty rate on gold into India to 15%.From where gold was smuggledVIP lounge gatewaySeized gold: 3.85 kgAmount: Rs2.02 croreTotal landings: 13 flightsTotal Gold: 50 kgDuty-free shopSeized gold: 8 kgAmount: Rs 4.21 croreTotal landings: ~20 flightsTotal gold: 160 kg

210 kg gold smuggled through int’l airport in two rackets, only 12 kg seized
Customs tightens airport vigilance to plug loopholes
Ahmedabad Mirror | 2 days ago | 11-08-2022 | 06:00 am
Ahmedabad Mirror
2 days ago | 11-08-2022 | 06:00 am

Even as airport employees have been accused of involvement in organised gold smuggling rackets at the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport, it is the short-staffed Customs department and its Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) that has borne the brunt for lack of vigilance that allowed hundreds of kilograms of gold to be sneaked into India without payment of customs duty.However, in the aftermath of two organised gold smuggling rackets being busted by the DRI on July 11 and 24 this year, security has been tightened on arrival at the international terminal (T2).Mirror has learnt that while airport employees with access could go in and out of the terminal without restrictions, the new measures put in place mandate that only those on the duty roster at any given time, and with authorisation from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) would be given access to the terminal.Earlier, checking of regular airport staff was intermittent, while now all employees will be subjected to frisking and have to compulsorily gain access only through the Door Metal Frame Detector (DFMD) to make sure that no illicit material is smuggled out of the terminal.The Customs department has also begun profiling all personnel posted in sensitive and critical areas for vetting and checks will be conducted regularly.In the first racket busted on July 11, the gold was smuggled out through the VIP lounge which has a door connecting the departure and arrivals halls of T2. This door has now been designated restricted access for only Customs and Immigration officers.In cooperation with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that handles all security at the airport, the Customs department has sought and received live feed of CCTV cameras in the international terminal at their own control room.Persons allowed into the arrival hall to welcome dignitaries without diplomatic immunity will not be allowed to step beyond the conveyor belt area, said sources.The Customs staff at the airport has been short-staffed since the pandemic. With general transfers imminent by mid-August, there is likely to be an increase in personnel and rise in night duty staff.Customs officials, who currently have restricted access across sensitive areas of the airport, are likely to seek more wide-ranging access from the BCAS to make sure “at least airport employees are not involved in smuggling activities”.

Customs tightens airport vigilance to plug loopholes