BENGALURU: In yet another nifty way of smuggling gold into Bengaluru via the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), a 40-year-old man was apprehended with a large audio speaker containing 10 gold biscuits weighing over 1 kg. The biscuits were cleverly concealed in the speaker’s voice coil.
The passenger was sent to prison and gold worth over Rs 30 lakh seized from him. Sources with the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Bengaluru Customs identified the suspect as Mahammad Raffi Shaik, a native of Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh, who was working at a metal fabrication unit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Shaik landed at KIA on Wednesday evening via Muscat by Oman Air (flight number WY 283), with the speaker in his check-in luggage. He had obtained an emergency certificate for travel from the Indian embassy as his passport was in the custody of his Gulf employer. “We zeroed in on Shaik through our regular passenger profiling after flights land at KIA. He was acting very suspicious while waiting to collect his luggage. We intercepted and questioned him,” said a KIA customs official investigating the case.
Despite sleuths grilling him on why he was carrying only one speaker instead of a pair, Shaik didn’t give away anything. “Soon we dismantled and inspected the speaker to find six gold biscuits hidden in the voice coil and the rest on the top plate above the speaker magnet. The gold biscuits, with some pieces sliced, were smartly placed inside the speaker parts to avoid detection,” added the officer.
Investigation revealed the speaker with the gold was handed over to Shaik at Riyadh by an acquaintance before he boarded the flight to India. He was well aware that he was smuggling gold into India and had volunteered to be the carrier after the racketeers promised to fly him free of cost. The contact person in Riyadh had told Shaik to step out of KIA with the speaker and that an unidentified man in the airport’s waiting area would collect the same from him, sources added.