Airline staff on part-time smuggling duty

Mangaluru: Officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence here have arrested two employees of Spicejet on charges of smuggling gold.

Acting on intelligence report, the officers seized 22 pieces of gold biscuits weighing a total of 2566.05 gm from a Spicejet aircraft which landed at the Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) from Dubai on July 15, DRI Deputy Director, Vinayak Bhat said on Tuesday.

The total value of the gold seized is estimated at Rs 75,26,225, he said in a release here. The gold biscuits were smuggled into the country by concealing them under a seat of the aircraft during its international flight from Dubai to Mumbai by a carrier hired for the job. Thereafter, once the aircraft was deployed on its assignment in the domestic sector, it operated between Mumbai and Mangaluru, Bhat said.

The arrested employees of Spicejet working at MIA who were part of the conspiracy were passing on advance information to the smugglers regarding the itinerary of the aircraft, he said. They helped the smugglers by retrieving the gold from the aircraft upon its landing at Mangaluru and delivering them outside later misusing their position to smuggle gold out of the airport by avoiding customs check, he said.

The two employees confessed to their crime on interrogation and admitted that they were doing it for the lure of hefty money offered by the smugglers. They also admitted that they had done it on six occasions earlier, the release said.

Meanwhile, Spicejet said in a statement here said the two employees had been suspended with immediate effect pending complete inquiry and investigation by agencies.

The suspended employees were Mohammed Haneef from city (senior CSE, Airport Services) and Muddayya from Kodagu (Security Officer).