The Department of Revenue Intelligence has discovered 29 people hiding gold in their rectums on two flights that landed at a southern airport on Sunday, a media report said.
More than 10kg (22lb) of the precious metal were found on at least 37 passengers on the two flights from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, that landed at Madurai international airport in Tamil Nadu, the report added.
Some had wedged the pieces, ranging from 30 to 600 grams, into their hand-luggage or children’s pushchairs. Others opted for a more “ingenious way of concealment”, according to India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the law enforcement agency that intercepted the passengers, the report said.
Upon “thorough examination”, the DRI said, the nuggets were discovered and confiscated by authorities. The total value of the haul was about 30m rupees.
The smugglers were permitted to walk free as no individual was carrying enough to meet the criminal threshold.
A spokesman for the DRI said Sunday’s haul was far from the largest – a 2015 operation netted almost 64kg of gold smuggled by three entire planeloads of passengers.
“The uniqueness of this case is that huge numbers of people concealed the gold in their rectums,” he was quoted as saying. “Rectum concealment by this many guys is a first.”