Gold making its way to India through air plane bathrooms
With gold import duties reaching record highs and restrictions on imports limiting supplies, Indians are finding creative ways to get gold into their country.
Twenty-four gold bars weighing about one kilo each were discovered in an airplane bathroom in Kolkata on Wednesday, according to the times of India.
Hidden inside two lunch boxes and tucked inside toilets, the secret cargo initially sparked a bomb scare, customs officials told Reuters.
The Jet Airways aircraft had just completed a domestic flight but usually travels between Dubai and Mumbai. A customs official told Reuters that the gold bars were definitely from Dubai. He estimated their value at about $1 million.
But this isn’t the first time officials find gold in strange places. Just last month officials found $1.9 million worth of gold in an airplane toilet in Bangladesh.
In fact, an official at the revenue intelligence department estimates that they only catch about 10% of this precious, illicit cargo.
The Reserve Bank of India has been trying to curb the country’s gold imports which are seen as a major contributor to the country’s current account deficit. The RBI’s measures have had some success in reducing imports, but demand is still strong and smuggling is ramping up to fill the supply gap.