$80,000 seized at Kolkata airport, three arrested



The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted a syndicate involved in smuggling foreign currency out of the country and seized $80,000 from it at the city airport, an official said on Monday.

Also, three persons were arrested, the official said.

"DRI officers have busted a smuggling syndicate operating at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (NSCBI). Three persons were arrested while they were trying to smuggle it out of the country," an official said.

According to the agency, smuggling of foreign currency from India has seen a spike in the current year. 

Crime syndicates smuggle gold and narcotics into the country and consequently, they were sending foreign currency in cash illegally, out of the country as proceeds of sale, DRI official said.

The gang had a unique modus operandi.

With hidden bundles of foreign currency notes in their shoes, two members of the group -- Sheikh Masiruddin and Md Akhtar Moeni -- cleared security check and waited at the domestic departure security hold area. At around the same time, the third member of the gang, Ziaul Mustafa, entered the airport to fly to Bangkok.

After being issued his boarding pass, Mustafa cleared immigration and customs and entered the international departure security hold area before boarding his flight.

A chained glass door separates the domestic departure security hold area from the international departure zone.

Three accused then met together at this point where the two domestic passengers passed on the currency notes to their accomplice waiting at the international departure side through a gap on this glass door, according to the agency.

Two domestic passengers, then intentionally "missed" their flight and approached the airlines as a case of no-show and to cancel their tickets and allow them to leave the airport.

"The DRI officers intercepted all three persons. On being questioned, they admitted to having done it on a number of occasions in the past," the official added.