CBI raids at Chennai international cargo terminal

Chennai: Close on the heels of Customs officials seizing gold and drugs at the Chennai airport lately, officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at the international cargo terminal at the old airport here.

The raids by an eight-member CBI team, began at around midnight at the export and import cargo areas, and ended at around 4.30 am this morning, sources said.

The 24-hour cargo terminal has been handling parcels and containers meant for foreign countries and those sent from abroad.

During the searches, the CBI officials also questioned the cargo authorities and the Customs officials and also took away some incriminating documents, it is said.

The reason for the sudden and surprise checks were not known and the CBI officials were tightlipped about it.

The raids were held in the backdrop of smuggling of banned narcotics and psychotropic drugs into India from foreign countries and vice versa and seizure of large quantity of drugs in the recent past. Gold was also being seized from passengers regularly.

The raids also come in the wake of reports of alleged irregularities in handling parcels and containers being sent to foreign countries.

Officials of the Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) had seized 3.15 kg gold valued at Rs 1.64 crore from passengers who arrived from Dubai in separate incidents since Wednesday night.

Airport Customs Commissioner in a release said based on intelligence that gold was likely to be smuggled by concealing in aircraft, rummaging of the Air India Express Flight, which arrived from Dubai, was carried out and a pouch was found concealed under one of the seats.

On examination, two bundles of gold paste and two gold bars weighing 116.5 gms each, total 928 grams valued at Rs 48.27 lakh, was recovered and seized as unclaimed.

Also last week, based on intelligence, Chennai Air Customs intercepted two postal parcels suspected to contain psychotropic drugs which were destined for USA at Foreign Post Office.

The first parcel was found to contain 20 strips of Alprazolam concealed inside a cardboard packet wrapped with black carbon paper. Total 300 tablets of Alprazolam were recovered. From other parcel 155 tablets of Lorazepam, Clonazepam and Diazepam were found concealed in similar manner. Total 455 tablets of psychotropic drugs were recovered and seized under the NDPS Act, 1985.


NT Bureau