In one of the biggest gold hauls in two decades, customs officials in Mumbai seized 38 kg gold worth Rs 11.40 crore. The haul, smuggled via sea route, was concealed in bathroom slippers brought from Thailand by an import businessman.
Customs Zone-I officials stumbled upon the massive haul while examining a container filled with women's bathroom slippers. The consignment brought in by a Dongri-based importer, Al Reham Impex, had landed at Indira Docks on September 21. The same was shifted to Sewri Timber Pond, a customs examination shed.
An official from the customs department, while carrying out random checks, noticed suspicious images of the consignment. Very few containers at the shed are screened based on intelligence or a built-in system that chooses consignments based on country of origin, past imports, and profile of importer.
This time around, since the importer was new, customs officials screened the consignment brought in. While scanning threw up suspicious images, officials began a thorough search of the contents when they chanced upon bars of gold hidden inside the footwear. 38 gold bars were found by the officials.
The staff of importer, Al Reham Impex, and clearance agent Sharda Clearing are being questioned to gather more information about the contents, recipient, sender, and purpose.
Officials also noted a rare, Thailand markings, on the gold.