An international racket to smuggle in 17 kilos of gold biscuits worth over Rs.220 million, was busted by the Customs at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Saturday morning, which was considered to be the largest gold detection in history.
Officials of the Customs Narcotic Control Unit following a comprehensive and strenuous investigation managed to nab a janitor attached to the airport, who was involved with the gold racket.
The suspect was caught red-handed when he was trying to sneak out the stock of gold concealed in a floor cleaning machine, which had previously been left in one of the toilets in the Arrivals Terminal by an unknown suspect, probably an arriving passenger.
Preliminary investigations had revealed that the janitor had collected the stock of gold carefully wrapped up in polythene and tape, which had been concealed in the drainage in one of the toilets by the arriving suspect.
The janitor had collected the parcel of gold and had hidden inside his cleaning machine before trying to sneak out of the lobby under the nose of the authorities, when he was stopped on suspicion and searched.
According to Customs officials, the parcel contained 161 gold biscuits of 24-Carat, which is valued at Rs.220,000,000.
Meanwhile, the officers of the same unit had found another three parcels containing 1.5 kilos of gold jewellery from another toilet in the Arrivals Terminal yesterday morning, which was suspected to have been left behind the same suspect or suspects.
Customs Superintendents Udaya Gamini, Hasantha Guruge and Deputy Superintendents Nuwan Abeynayake, Srilal Wijewardena, Rasika Samanjith with Assistant Superintendents Dilshan Weligampitiya and Binoj Cooray are conducting investigations on the instructions of Director Social Protection Division S. Rajaratne and Deputy Director Narcotic Control Unit T. Welikala under the supervision of Customs Director General Vijitha Ravipriya and Additional Director General Enforcement Ananda Easwaran.
According to Customs sources, one kilogramme of 24-Carat gold is worth Rs.13 million.
The arrested janitor would be detained for further investigations.(Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)