Hyderabad: Customs officials foiled a major gold smuggling bid at Rajiv Gandhi International (RGI) airport, Hyderabad, when they recovered 3.11 kilograms of yellow metal from 11 passengers who arrived from Dammam in a special flight under Vande Bharat Mission.

The passengers had concealed gold bars in the inner pockets of their trousers. All the passengers were detained and booked under Customs Act.

This is the first gold smuggling case detected at the RGI airport during the past four months.

Preliminary investigations reveal that 11 men were acting as couriers for an international gang operating from Gulf. Sources said the gang wanted to take undue advantage of the humanitarian mission and smuggle gold into India.

After complying with the required health protocols, 11 men were subjected to physical checking.

During frisking, the officials found gold bars worth Rs 1.66 crore concealed in their inner pockets. All the passengers were booked under the Customs Act. Further investigation is underway, customs officials said.

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