Gold bars worth $1.1m found in plane toilet in India

Indian saleswoman arranges gold bars at a jewellery store in Ahmedabad (file image) As gold import duties have risen in an effort to curb domestic demand, the incentive to smuggle gold has risen

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A stash of 24 gold bars worth more than $1.1m has been discovered in the toilet compartment of a commercial plane in eastern India.

Cleaners found the haul in two bags on board a Jet Airways flight at Kolkata airport, officials said.

India is one of the world's main gold consumers and imports are seen as a major contributor to the country's account deficit.

It recently raised duty on imports of gold jewellery to 15% from 10%.

It was the third increase this year as the government attempts to curb demand for the precious metal, which many Indians traditionally hoard in the belief it will bring financial security.

The plane on which the 1kg (2.2lb) gold bars were found on Tuesday had reportedly come from Bangkok, local media reported, before making stops in India.

"The cleaning staff of the airport were going though their routine duties and found two bags in the toilets of the plane," airport director BP Mishra told AFP news agency.

He was quoted as saying that no arrest had been made in connection with the find, though OneIndia News said a suspect was being questioned.

The gold has been valued at between 70m and 90m rupees (up to $1.4m or £890,000).

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