Five Sri Lankan nationals, who are in the Chennai International Airport’s transit lounge, said that they will approach the Madras High Court to get back their gold bars weighing about seven kg seized by Customs.
Transiting through India from Dubai to Colombo, they landed at Chennai International Airport when the Customs allegedly seized their legally declared gold, they said.
“We have been at the Chennai International Airport for the past 12 days. We have decided to get back our legally brought gold that was forcibly taken from us by the officials of Indian Customs Department,” Ihsanul Haq, one of the five Lankans, told IANS.
“We are spending our own money at the airport for our food. Since we didn’t reach Colombo as per plans, our friends there enquired about us at the airport there and then the came to know that we are at Chennai. One of our Sri Lankan friends who came here to check on us stayed back and got in touch with a lawyer here,” Haq said.
According to Haq, all the five had declared the amount of gold carried by them to the Dubai Customs officials based on the purchase invoices.
“Each one of us had about 1.398 kg of gold,” Haq said.
The five Sri Lankans flew in here by Indigo Airlines flight early morning on June 2.
While they were deboarding the Dubai-Chennai flight, the Customs Officials had asked to stand aside and later seized their mobile phones, and passports and forced them back into the aircraft while other passengers left for the terminal by bus from the tarmac.
Questioned about gold by the Customs officials, the Sri Lankans said they bought this in Dubai and was also declared to the authorities in Dubai.
Despite their protests, the Customs officials seized the gold from their persons.
On the other hand, the Customs on June 4 tweeted: “Chennai Air Customs recovered 9.02 Kgs of 24K purity Gold valued at Rs. 4.21 Crores from rummaging of Indigo Flight No.6E 66 dt.02.06.2022 arriving from Dubai and restroom of arrival area of Chennai International Airport. The same was seized under the Customs Act, 1962.”
Haq alleged that they were detained in the aircraft for several hours and were also assaulted by the officials.
The Sri Lankans also said the closed circuit television camera (CCTV) should be examined and the video preserved.
While the Customs said gold was seized from the rest room in aircraft and in the airport, the Lankans charge the gold was taken away from them.
According to Haq, all the five are gold traders, who buy the yellow metal in Dubai for jewellers in Sri Lanka.