THE Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has arrested three persons for smuggling Gold Biscuits and Foreign Currency at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). The accused have been identified as members of Ulhasnagar based Deepak Suhani’s gang.
According to sources, on 12th April, 2019, DRI nabbed a passenger who goes by the name DB at the KIA as he disembarked from an Indigo Flight, coming from Singapore, via Ahmedabad with Gold Biscuits weighing 2.5 Kgs, valued at Rs. 88 Lakhs and USD 2,00,000 Dollars in Cash worth Rs. 1.5 Crore.
During the interrogation, DB also revealed the name of his two associates – Pankaj Dhamijani and Kamal Motwani and DRI also arrested them on the same day.
The accused took DRI Officials to a toilet in the rear of the aircraft, where they opened a panel to reveal the USD 2,00,000 stacked there, neatly packed using a black tape.
DRI Officials were also shocked to see that the accused had a screwdriver in possession, and they used the same to open the aircraft panel. The screwdriver was of the make and kind that it was a specialized tool that was generally used only by aeronautical engineers working on passenger aircrafts.
The accused opened the toilet’s panel, exposing a set of wires and duct, which, if meddled could pose a serious and grave danger to the aircraft during the flight mechanism. The fact that the accused were able to access such panels was shocking.
Further probe revealed that the accused are members of Deepak Suhani gang, based and operating out of Ulhasnagar, in outskirts of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The accused confessed to the gold and currency smuggling using aeronautical tools.
Remember Anil Satnathi, resident of Ulhasnagar, had alerted authorities at Ahmedabad Airport, twice last year by mailing them, informing that that Deepak Suhani Gang is active in smuggling Gold and Foreign currency and they are likely using Ahmedabad Airport as their area of operation. But Somnath Chaudhary at the Airport ignored the alert and information as he is on payroll of Deepak Suhani.
While Gold Smuggling is a shocking and serious economic offence in itself, the unique modus operandi employed by the members of Deepak Suhani Gang needs further detailed investigation. The accused seem to have sophistication to use Aircraft tools, and are familiar with the panels, and can expose the wiring within the aircraft. This can only happen with inside help from Airport maintenance crew and possibly crew members.
Also one must remember that smuggling is one thing, but this gang seems to be putting lives of the passengers at risk by meddling with aircraft panels, when they aren’t qualified to do so. Hence this offence needs to be treated on par with offences that endanger innocent human lives, and the accused must be charged with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well. Not just the arrested accused, the whole gang, including everyone involved should be found out and made the face the wrath of the law.