Smuggled in from UAE: 17.5kg gold bars recovered from Biman aircraft | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:01 AM, February 23, 2021

Smuggled in from UAE: 17.5kg gold bars recovered from Biman aircraft

Chattogram Customs House and Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) officials recovered 150 gold bars, weighing 17.5kg and valued at Tk 9.5 crores, from a Biman plane that landed at Shah Amanat International Airport yesterday morning from Abu Dhabi.

The bars were found inside a vent beneath two passenger seats.

No arrests have yet been made in this connection.

CIID Deputy Director Babul Ikbal, told The Daily Star that a team of CIID and the Customs House, acting on a tip-off, jointly conducted a drive in flight BG128.

Rokhsana Khatun, deputy commissioner of Chattogram Customs House, told The Daily Star, "We recovered the gold bars from two AC panels beneath two passenger seats of the plane -- from beneath seat number 26A, we seized 90 gold bars, and from seat number 18A, 60 gold bars."

On October 2, 2019, CIID detained Mohammad Ilias, a cleaner of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, with 36 gold bars weighing around 4.22kg and worth Tk 2 crore from the same flight.

The deputy commissioner of customs added, "It is very difficult for a passenger to carry out such a misdeed by his or her own.

Several times, we conducted drives in aircrafts and recovered a large quantity of gold bars abandoned in the toilets, galley and other parts of the planes.

"It is not possible to run such smuggling without the involvement of aircraft employees concerned."

She also said, "The commissioner of the Chattogram Customs House told us that he sent a letter to the National Board of Revenue to find out the main culprits in such smuggling."

Biman MD and CEO Mokabbir Hossain told The Daily Star that the security agencies of the city of departure were responsible for such incidents in these cases.

"If our staff is found involved in any such incident after investigation, we will of course take action," he added.

The seized gold bars will be deposited at Bangladesh Bank while a departmental case will be lodged under the Customs Act [1969], said customs officials.

According to Chattogram airport data, 2,987 abandoned gold bars weighing around 348kg were recovered between January 2015 and October 2020.

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