DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A Jet Airways cabin crew member on a Mumbai-Dubai return flight was arrested at Mumbai International Airport last week for allegedly smuggling gold bars weighing 1.2kg.
The incident occurred soon after the arrival of flight 9W-543.
The crew member had reportedly managed to clear security but was called back after CCTV footage caught him hiding a packet while he was waiting his turn to be frisked. A customs official who had noticed his clandestine activity alerted the police who questioned him and later arrested him.
The 25-year-old had allegedly taken the packet from a contact at Dubai airport to hand over to someone in Mumbai after passing customs.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said: “The matter is under investigation and Jet Airways is fully cooperating with the investigating agencies. Jet Airways has zero tolerance towards any action of its employees that contravenes local or international laws prevalent in the countries of its operations. We take immediate disciplinary action as per company policy and after due investigation.”
This is not the first time a cabin crew member has been arrested on similar charges.
In March, a flight attendant on the same route was caught trying to smuggle gold and diamonds worth over Rs10 million. A month earlier, two staffers were held at Kochi airport in Kerala for allegedly smuggling gold worth over Rs7.5 million.
Last week’s arrest is said to have been the result of surprise checks of crew members. The Times of India quoted officials as saying, “Gold smugglers make frequent foreign trips in which they lure airline staff with easy money, paying Rs25,000-Rs50,000 for each kilo of gold. First they ask the target for small favors like taking mobile phones out of the airport in exchange for money. Once the recruiter is convinced that the airline employee can easily take gold out of the airport, they are roped in.”