A senior pilot of Air India was detained at the Mumbai International airport for allegedly smuggling gold worth Rs 15.6 lakh on Wednesday. But thanks to having an amount of gold just lower than the amount that would get him arrested, he managed to walk free for now. 

The 45-year-old pilot, Vijay Pratap, employed as a commander with the national carrier was found to be carrying seven bars of gold in his bag which was seized by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) during baggage screening, reports Hindustan Times.

Pratap had landed at CST international airport, Mumbai after flying from Jeddah.

b’Source: PTI’

A customs official said the pilot was attempting “surreptitious removal” of gold bars by concealing them in his checked-in baggage and hand baggage. 

“He has admitted to possession, carriage and concealment of bars which were being smuggled into India,” the official said.

According to a Times of India report, the pilot said he had been given a packet of dry fruits to be given to his relative in Mumbai. He also told officials that he didn’t know was unaware about the gold.

The report however, mentions that a customs official had marked his luggage for further examination but the pilot had wiped away the mark possibly in an attempt to avoid further scrutiny. 

The gold has been seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and his statement was recorded. 

Pratap has been employed in the aviation industry for the last two decades. He was not arrested because the price of gold seized is less than worth Rs 20 lakh. Further investigations are being done.

(With inputs from PTI)