While smuggling contraband isn’t exactly unheard of, a senior pilot with a leading airline trying to smuggle gold is. But, that’s exactly what happened when Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai International Airport caught an Air India pilot trying to smuggle gold worth around Rs 15 lakh in the city.
According to the AIU, the accused pilot, Vijay Pratap, has been flying for the last two decades. The 45-year-old reportedly draws a salary of around Rs 5.5 lakh a month from the national carrier.
Pratap, who works as a commander with Air India, arrived at Mumbai after flying a Jeddah-Mumbai flight. During checking, seven gold bars weighing 530 grams each were recovered from his checked-in luggage and hand baggage.
The gold, worth Rs 15.6 lakh, was seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. But since the value of the smuggled goods was under Rs 20 lakh, Pratap was not arrested. During questioning, he admitted to possession, carriage, concealment and recovery of the gold bars without paying the customs duty.
AIU is currently investigating if the senior pilot was involved in a similar case earlier. If his involvement in a past case becomes evident, he may face arrest. An AIU source also confirmed that many crew members have been caught in the past, but they have seldom seen a commander trying to smuggle items.
In the light of the pilot’s actions, the AIU has increased at vigilance at the airport and is keeping a stern eye on the both passengers and crew.Back to latest news