PUNE: On Thursday, the customs officials at the Lohegaon airport in Pune recovered four gold bars weighing 4,000 grammes and worth Rs 1,29,04,000 from a SpiceJet SG-52 Dubai-Pune flight at 4.45 am.

Harshal Mete, deputy commissioner of customs at the city airport said, “Once the passengers disembarked, a team of officials began the routine process of rummaging the aircraft where we found four gold bars covered with a black adhesive tape and kept in the toilet of the aircraft. All the four gold bars are of foreign origin bearing serial marks with international precious metal refiners engraved on it.”

According to Mete, this is one of the most common modus operandi of smugglers of keeping such smuggled materials in the toilet to avoid going thorough the routine check done by the customs officials after landing at the airport. He said, “The confiscated gold bars have been handed over to the disposal section of the customs department which will then go to the gold melting department.”

Deshraj Meena, inspector of the customs team at Pune airport, recovered the bars from the aircraft toilet.Other officers who were involved in the investigation were Rajesh Ramarao, joint commissioner; Harshal Mete, deputy commissioner; Sudha lyer, superintendent, Airport Intelligence Unit (AIU); Sanjay V Zarekar, Satish C Sangle both superintendents of customs; Rajendra Prasad Meena , GJ Joshi , BS Hagawane all Inspectors of customs; and SS Nimbalkar and AN Bhat both constables at customs.

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 16:59 IST