A gasp of amazement from airport officials who encounter ingenious devices to sneak in valuables everyday betrayed the novelty of fishing out lakhs in foreign currency, rolled up tightly and stuffed inside the handles of a bag.
In all, foreign currency worth Rs 64 lakh was found hidden inside the metal pipes of a Bangkok-bound passenger’s trolley bag early Sunday morning by security officials at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Upon a thorough checking of the bag, officials found that foreign currency notes had been rolled up, covered with clear plastic, and stuffed into the hollow pipes of the passenger’s trolley bag handle.
Security officials at the International Departure Customs Office detached the handle of the bag, and used a long needle to take out the multiple wads of cash.
They included 68,400 euros (342 notes in denominations of 200) and 5,000 New Zealand dollars (50 notes in denominations of 100).
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said officials at the airport first noticed the passenger, identified as Surinder Singh Rihal, at 1:15 am when he displayed “suspicious” behaviour.
He was scheduled to travel on Thai Airlines Flight No. TH-332 to Bangkok and was diverted for random checking. He was later allowed to proceed under physical and electronic surveillance. When he could not clear the airline check-in due to an issue with his documents, CISF and Customs officials took the passenger to the International Departure Customs Office. Upon a closer search, the currency notes were found, according to a CISF press release.
The passenger could not present any documents for carrying such a huge amount of foreign currency. He, along with the cash haul, was handed over to Customs officials for further legal action.