A man from Dubai was arrested recently in Chennai as he was found carrying gold worth Rs. 40 lakh in rectum. Despite stringent laws and air-tight surveillance, airports across the nation are witnessing the smuggling of gold. The reports of such incidents have increased after the flight restrictions due to COVID-19 have been relaxed.


On Tuesday, July 18, the custom officials at Chennai airport arrested a man who was carrying about 810 grams of 24 karat gold which is worth over Rs. 40 lakhs. While the act of smuggling is itself a grave crime, the man was found carrying the gold in the most unassuming of pockets – his rectum.

After the man’s arrest, the custom officials said that further investigation into the matter is on. The custom officials also gave some details about the case and said that the gold was carried in 4 bundles of gold paste – all together weighing 948 grams. In those 4 bundles, the custom officials extracted the 810 grams of gold worth Rs. 40.35 lakhs.

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How the arrest was made?

The Air Intelligence Unit of the Customs department acted on a tip-off and arrested the accused named Chandru Sakhtivel. The 23-year-old accused had arrived from Dubai on an Emirates flight and is a resident of Villuppuram, Tamil Nadu.

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The Recent Surge in Gold Smuggling in India

It should be noted that despite increased surveillance and harsh punishments, smuggling of gold – especially from Gulf countries is not a rare occurrence at Indian airports. On Monday this week, the Customs seized another 2.33 kg of gold that was worth Rs. 1.11 crores in the Malappuram district. The gold was stuck inside a coffee maker machine that the accused had brought with him.

Just a day before that, the DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) had also seized gold weighing 4.8 kg worth Rs. 2.95 crores on Sunday.

In December, 2020, the customs authority arrested 2 men who were returning from Dubai and were carrying 706 grams of gold that was worth Rs. 35.5 lakhs. The man had been carrying the gold which was in form of gold paste.

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January – Busiest Month for Customs Officials

January 2021 was one of the busiest months for custom authorities in Chennai as they made seizers of 9 kg of gold over the course of 3 days.

Acting on a tip-off, the custom authorities searched 17 Dubai returnee suspects and extracted 48 bundles of gold paste. All of these passengers were carrying the gold in their rectums. From the bundles, gold worth Rs. 3.93 crores were extracted.

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Gold worth Rs. 4.16 Crores in Rectum

When the authorities further searched the suspects, it led them to extract 12 gold cut bits that collectively weighed 386 grams and a gold chain of 74 grams was also restored. The total amount of gold that was recovered in that particular haul stood at 8.18 kgs and was worth Rs. 4.16 crores. In this case, 9 people were arrested. Incidentally, another person was arrested at the same time as he was found carrying 3 gold bundles inside his rectum worth Rs. 14 lakhs.

As per the Customs, Indian male residents that are returning from abroad can bring duty-free gold ornaments up to 20 grams and not worth more than Rs. 50,000. Meanwhile, for women it is 40 grams and gold not worth more than Rs. 1,00,000.