Mid-air forex smuggling: How the trap was set and operation carried out
A few years back a Ghana Airways flight was raided by New York customs officials on the tarmac. Three flight attendants were apprehended with 45,000 US dollars and booked under provisions of money laundering.
Earlier this week a flight attendant of the Jet Airways was picked up by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence was picked up after it was found that she was carrying US dollars worth Rs 3.2 crore on her meant to be exchanged for gold in Hong Kong.
Flight attendants are easy targets for such acts of money laundering. Take the instant case on hand. The prime accused in the case, Amit Malhotra was travelling on a Jet Airways flight when he spotted the attendant, Devshi.
He then approached her and told her that he was a business tycoon. Impressed with him, she shared her number.
A few days later Malhotra messaged her asking whether she could meet him. The two met and then he made an offer to her. He told her whether she could carry some cash with her meant for an associate in Hong Kong. Initially, she was apprehensive about the offer and even turned it down.
Malhotra continued to persist and told her that it was safe. He even demonstrated to her that money wrapped in a silver foil could not be detected by X-ray machines.
The entire operation began with a low amount. She packed the money in a silver foil and concealed it in her baggage. The silver foil passed off as chocolates. On reaching Hong Kong she messaged the details and Malhotra arranged for a person to pick up the cash. The operation went off smoothly and Devshi was impressed that she could carry this off.
She carried out seven such operations. In the last few operations, she had charged a rupee for every dollar. In the last operation that she was attempting to carry out before her luck ran out, she was to get Rs 4.8 lakhs, investigations showed.