Amid high drama, an unidentified gang attacked DRI sleuths and whisked away 18 gold smugglers at Chennai airport on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, DRI said they were also examining the role of two air Customs officers who appeared to have abetted smuggling, a press release said.
Apart from the two ACOs, the DRI had also searched the premises of a former tax assistant of the Customs Department. He too was accused of coordinating gold smuggling, the DRI said. A senior Customs official on Thursday clarified that all smugglers were detained by the DRI immediately after immigration clearance and before Customs checks.
Explaining the sequence of events, DRI said their officials intercepted 18 passengers who had arrived from three cities abroad. After recovering the gold and completion of procedures, when the smugglers were being taken out for boarding the vehicle stationed outside the arrival hall of the international terminal for further enquiry at the DRI office, 50 people suddenly surrounded the group and started hurling abuses at the officials.
When the officials tried to escort the smugglers into the bus, the mob started attacking them and during the melee, two DRI officials were manhandled. Later, the group of 50 fled with the 18 smugglers.
After some time, however, a few of the smugglers returned. On Thursday, 13 of the 18 smugglers appeared at the DRI office and further enquiry is being conducted to ascertain who is behind the gold smuggling racket.