Indian cricketer Krunal Pandya stopped at airport on suspicion of smuggling gold

All-rounder was returning from tournament in the UAE

Mumbai Indians cricketer Krunal Pandya celebrates after taking the wicket of Kings XI Punjab batsman Wriddhiman Saha during the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians at The Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on April 20, 2017. ------IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / GETTYOUT------ (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP) / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / GETTYOUT
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Indian cricketer Krunal Pandya was detained in Mumbai on suspicion of smuggling gold.

The Mumbai Indians all-rounder was on his way back from the UAE after the team won the Indian Premier League title in Dubai on Tuesday.

According to the ANI news agency, Pandya, 29, was questioned by Indian authorities at Mumbai International Airport on suspicion of possessing an undisclosed quantity of gold and other valuables.

The incident is being investigated by India’s Directorate of Revenue, which enforces India’s customs laws.

Smuggling gold into India, the world’s biggest consumer of the precious metal after China, has been increasing since 2013.

The surge came after the government raised the import tax to 10 per cent, followed by another rise to 12.5 per cent last year.

Up to 95 tonnes of gold was smuggled into India in 2018, according to the World Gold Council.

But that figure is expected to decline this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, an airline passenger was arrested for attempting to smuggle gold foil hidden around bars of chocolate. In October, Indian customs officials arrested a passenger who travelled from Dubai, after they found almost about 500 grams of gold in his body.

Authorities in the UAE and India launched investigations into gold smuggling in July after customs officials in India thwarted an attempt to smuggle Dh7 million worth of gold from the UAE to Kerala.

The IPL was played in the UAE this year – also due to the pandemic.