Gold bars worth $1.1M found in plane lavatory

6:33 AM, Nov 21, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS News) - Indian cleaners found a stash of 24 gold bars worth more than $1.1 million hidden in an aircraft toilet in eastern Kolkata city on Tuesday.

The Jet Airways aircraft landed at Kolkata's international airport from Bangkok and was being cleaned before a scheduled flight to eastern Patna city.

The flight normally operates between the gold trading hub of Dubai and Mumbai, home to India's largest gold market.

The aircraft was undergoing routine cleaning when maintenance staff discovered the two bags in a lavatory.

"The gold was found in the toilet of Jet Airways flight which came from Bangkok to Patna and then to Kolkata. The gold bars were kept in two bags and each bag contained 12 bars each. It was identified during the cleaning of the toilet," said Additional Commissioner of Customs at the airport, R.S. Meena.

The two bags hidden in one of the toilets of the Jet Airways flight triggered first a bomb scare and then a smuggling probe as the bags were found to contain the gold.

The bars, which weigh 2.2 pounds each (one kilogram) and are about the same size as a portable smart phone, remain unclaimed.
"It is unclaimed and no arrest has been made. There is a total of 24 pieces and every bag contained 12 pieces. Each piece weighs one kilogram," said Meena.

The custom officials have confiscated the gold and are investigating the matter.

Smuggling is on the rise into India, one of the world's biggest buyers of gold, after the government raised import duty to a record 10 percent and slapped restrictions which have reduced supplies into the domestic market.

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