Gold smuggling: Tougher check on ground staff at Delhi airport

Employees engaged by Delhi airport operators may soon have to face tougher checking by customs officials as part of efforts to put a check on incidents of gold smugglings involving them.

The move comes after Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and customs officials found involvement of some airport ground staff, including those responsible for collecting garbage, loading and unloading cargo, maintaining inventory, cleaning and supervising other maintenance works, in smuggling of the yellow metal.

Of late, some employees hired by contract firms of Delhi airport operators have been held by the DRI and customs officials for allegedly trying to smuggle in gold with the help of passengers, official sources said.

The customs department may take up the matter with Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), a joint venture consortium of GMR Group (54 per cent), Airports Authority of India (26 per cent), and Fraport AG & Eraman Malaysia (10 per cent each), they said.

The DRI and customs officials are also in favour of conducting a deep background check of all employees hired by various contract firms engaged in providing different services to the airport.

The DRI had on Thursday arrested three persons, one of whom was working with a contract firm of M/s GMR at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here, for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valued at about Rs 30 lakh.

One of the accused involved in the case has been identified as Jitin Gupta, senior customer service associate of M/s Global airport, DRI officials said.

Gupta was apprehended by DRI officials on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday for allegedly trying to smuggle in 1.152 kg of gold brought by Surinder Pal who, after arrival from Bangkok, handed over the metal to Gupta inside the bathroom in immigration hall, they said.

The gold, valued at about Rs 30 lakh, was to be delivered allegedly by Gupta to Rakesh Verma who was waiting outside the IGI airport. All the three persons have been arrested, the officials said.

Verma is a former employee of a cargo and clearing firm in Mahipalpur.

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