NEW DELHI _ Cleaners found a stash of 24 gold bars worth more than $1.1 million hidden in an airplane lavatory after a flight from Bangkok landed in eastern India, officials said Wednesday.
The Jet Airways flight had landed in Kolkata and was being cleaned before a scheduled flight to Patna when the cleaners found two bags with the gold stashed inside, Customs official Mona Priyadarshini said.
Priyadarshini said the gold bars weighed around 1 kilogram each. Customs officials confiscated the stash and are investigating.
A Reuters report said smuggling is on the rise in India, one of the world’s biggest buyers of gold, after the government raised the import duty to a record 10% and slapped restrictions which have shrivelled supplies on the domestic market.
"There was a bomb scare immediately when the bags were spotted in two separate toilets at round 1 a.m., but later we found they contained 12 pieces of gold bars in each," Additional Commissioner of Customs at the airport, Rameshwar Meena, told Reuters.
"The gold bars are from Dubai for sure. The flight had come from Patna to Calcutta last, but its basic route is Dubai-Mumbai."