The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on Wednesday remanded the assistant security officer of AirAsia, who was arrested in connection with the seizing of 65 gold bars weighing 10.79 kg and worth Rs 5,76,72,550 in the market from Imphal International airport on April 24, in judicial custody.
The court remanded assistant security officer Thangjam Rajesh Kumar, 38, son of Th Meghachandra of Chingmeirong West, Imphal East district in 13-day judicial custody till June 21.
Rajesh was arrested by custom on June 8 following an investigation launched by Anti-Smuggling Unit, Imphal Customs Division regarding the seizing of the said gold bars from the possession of one Wangkhem Ibungobi, 33, son of Wangkhem Babaton of Awang Khunou Maning Leikai, Imphal West on April 24, 2022.
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Earlier on June 10, he was remanded in 15-day judicial custody till June 23 by rejecting his bail.
Allegation against the accused is that he wilfully and intentionally involved himself in the attempt to smuggle the seized 65 pieces of yellow metal in biscuit form, suspected to be gold of foreign origin, concealed in black polythene plastic wrapped in a blanket inside the luggage.
The court, considering the facts of the case, stated that the accused went out of his way from the baggage section area to the X-Ray screening counter taking possession of the baggage left at the baggage counter. This shows that he has a vested interest in assisting to clear the luggage at the X-Ray screening counter. Moreover, as admitted by the counsel of the accused, the accused detected the presence of metal while the seized luggage passed through X-Ray but failed to alert the authorities for checking to further reinforce the suspicion of the accused intentionally assisting in smuggling the seized gold biscuits of foreign origin from Imphal to another destination, the court said.
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“The court is forced to assume that even after detection of metal articles in the X-Ray screening area and if it happens to be an explosive, the omission of the accused may cause loss of precious lives of those passengers”, stated the court. Thus, the facts that the accused did not have an exact knowledge that he detected metal is a yellow metal is taken more seriously for his wilful failure of his bounden duty of checking the security for the airline, the court added.
Therefore, the court found sufficient materials to form prima facie against the accused person of the offences charged and remanded him in judicial custody for 13 days.