Employee poses with a gold chain at a jewellery store in Taipei
Airport Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) arrested 2 Indian-origin women for smuggling 4kg gold jewellery in their undergarments after they arrived from Singapore - Representational Image REUTERS

India's Airport Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) arrested two women on Saturday (22 July) for allegedly smuggling 4kg gold jewellery. The women, who were travelling from Singapore to Mumbai, had reportedly hid gold worth Rs.12m (£142,928) in their undergarments.

Santaletchmi Superamaniam (41), a Malaysian of Indian-origin, was questioned by customs officials, according to the Times of India newspaper. The officers grew suspicious after she said she came from Singapore to Mumbai for a day to shop.

On further enquiry, Superamaniam told the officers about her accomplice, Magisvary Jairaman (59), a Singaporean who had already crossed the customs area.

Officials took Jairaman back to the customs area and asked both to pass through a metal detector, which showed they had concealed the gold in their upper and lower undergarments.

A customs officer recovered 2kg gold chains from each of them. They told officials a receiver was waiting outside.

AIU also arrested a third person who was waiting outside the airport to receive the women. The gold was to be delivered to a shopkeeper in Mumbai. Customs officials have sealed the shop and the three accused have been remanded in custody.

The man who allegedly had come to the airport to receive the gold told officials that he was asked to collect the gold at regular intervals on the instructions of a Singapore-based handler. The handler would send the carriers' photographs to the receiver.

An official said the handler often used women, who looked like high-profile executives, or were from affluent families and were well-mannered, to avoid suspicion at the airport.

The handler had arranged hotel rooms for the carriers in three hotels near the Mumbai airport. The receivers would collect the gold from them and the women would return to Singapore the next day.