In the past several cases have come to light when gold and foreign currency were found concealed in food, cloths, bags, even belts and shoes. But a packet of 'Boondi', a sweet Indian delicacy, would have been the last place where someone would look for smuggled goods.
The notion was proved wrong after custom officials at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad held two people for illegally carrying foreign currency worth Rs. 54 lakh, hidden inside 'boondi' packets, before heading to Dubai.
"Two pax bound to Dubai by EK-527 concealed the forex in boondi packets," the airport said in a statement cited by the local media on late Tuesday.
Separate suspicious baggage
Custom officials said that the two people, caught separately, were scheduled to board an Emirates flight. During security check at the international departure wing of the airport, officials found something suspicious after scanning their baggage.
However, upon physically checking, it was found that the duo had concealed foreign currency including Saudi Riyals, US and Australian dollars, Kuwaiti Dinars, United Arab Emirates Dirhams, Omani Riyals and Bahraini Dinars, in sachets of 'boondi' packets in their baggage.
Search for forex racket in the city
Reports have stated that the two passengers also failed to submit valid documents for allegedly carrying such a heavy amount of foreign currency when questioned by the law enforcement authorities at the airport.
Thus, the currency was seized, while the duo was booked under sections of the Customs Act. The local police is currently investigating whether the two were linked to any forex racketeers in the city or abroad. The owner of the bag is yet to be identified, officials said.
NewsMeter cited an RTI, filed by Hyderabad resident Robin Zaccheus, which revealed that the customs officials have so far booked 536 gold smuggling cases at the Hyderabad airport over a period of five years, and the value stands at Rs 96.15 crore at present.