Sylhet MAG Osmani International Airport seems to have turned into a hotspot of gold smuggling as the precious metal is being recovered from passengers of Biman Bangladesh Airlines flights coming from Dubai of the United Arab Emirates one after another.
The inbound passengers are bringing gold worth crores of taka from Dubai to the country using different innovative tactics. Although customs detectives are detaining the carriers along with the gold consignments, the masterminds of gold smuggling remained untouched.
Police and detectives believe that the detained persons are just the carriers and the powerful kingpins of the international ring are behind the smuggling, making it impossible to stop the gold smuggling from Dubai.
In the latest case, customs officials arrested a man named Mainul Islam Shakil along with 1.16 kg gold at the Sylhet airport on Thursday morning.
The gold worth Tk 80 lakh was recovered from the bag of Mainul, a resident of Jaintapur upazila in Sylhet who arrived from Dubai.
The gold was melted and cast into the shapes of household appliances.
Earlier on May 27, the customs authorities seized 1.16 kg gold from a passenger arriving from Dubai at the airport.
The detainee, Md Ali Ahmed, is a native of Ujan Meherpur village in Golapganj upazila of the district.
The gold in bars worth Tk 80 lakh was hidden inside a nebuliser, used by asthma patients and others suffering from respiratory distress.
On December 27, four passengers of Biman Bangladesh Airlines were arrested at the Sylhet airport along with gold bars, weighing 11.2 kg.
The arrestees were Makbul Ali of Kayasthagram village, Bashir Uddin of Keuria Haor village and Sultan Ahmed of Banshbari village in Kanaighat upazila of Sylhet and Sheikh Md Zahid of Nabiganj upazila in Habiganj. The gold bars were hidden inside ironing machines and juice-making devices. The price of the seized gold is around Tk 7.5 crore.
Mohammed Al Amin, deputy commissioner of Customs, Excise and VAT Commissionerate in Sylhet, said they handed over the arrested persons to police after cases were filed in this connection.
Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police Azbahar Ali Sheikh said the lynchpins of the gold smuggling racket remain abroad. “Those who were caught are basically carriers. The detained carriers can’t provide any detailed information about the smugglers on both sides. So, it’s difficult for us to identify or arrest the masterminds.”