In A First, Kolkata-based Air Hostess Held For Smuggling Nearly 1 Kg Gold In Her Rectum

The source said that 960 grams of smuggled gold was recovered in compound form concealed in her rectum during personal search.

Representative/Getty Images
The gold was found in a compound form. Photo: Representative/Getty Images

A female crew member of an airline was arrested for allegedly smuggling nearly one kilogram of gold from Muscat to Kannur by hiding it in her rectum, a DRI source said on Thursday.

Officers of the Kannur unit of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), on the basis of specific intelligence from the Cochin unit, intercepted the Air India Express (AIE) cabin crew member Surabhi Khatun at the Kannur International Airport on Tuesday. Khatun, hailing from Kolkata, arrived in the city from Muscat.

The DRI sleuths also arrested a senior male crew member of the same airline on Friday for his alleged "significant role" in recruiting her into the smuggling her.

Suhail Thanalot, a native of Kannur's Thillenkeri and a senior crew member of AIE, was apprehended after intelligence compiled by the DRI suggested his involvement in the incident.

Thanalot, with around 10 years of experience as cabin crew, is suspected of playing a significant role in recruiting Khatun, PTI cited the source as saying.

Notably, the source said that 960 grams of smuggled gold was recovered in compound form concealed in Khatun's rectum during personal search.

Following the completion of interrogation and required formalities, Khatun was produced before the jurisdictional magistrate, who remanded her to 14 days to women's prison in Kannur.

This is the first time in the country that a cabin crew member has been caught for smuggling gold in such a manner, the source claimed.

An elaborate investigation has been launched into the matter. The evidence collected so far suggests that the woman had smuggled gold several times in the past. A possible involvement of Kerala-based individuals in the smuggling gang is also being probed, news agency PTI cited the source as saying.

So far, the airline has not made comments on the incident.

The incident comes a day after a former staffer of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was detained by Delhi Customs in a gold smuggling case at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).

Shiv Kumar Prasad, who claimed to be Tharoor's aide, was held along with another individual on Wednesday night. Tharoor, who is contesting 2024 Lok Sabha Elections from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, said he supports the authorities' investigation and condemns any alleged wrongdoing.

(With PTI inputs)