Gold worth $1.5m found in plane cargo in India

An Indian salesman stands by a counter at a gold jewelery shop in Mumbai Image copyright AP
Image caption As gold import duties have risen in an effort to curb domestic demand, the incentive to smuggle gold has risen

A stash of 27kg of gold worth more than $1.5m (£956,023) has been discovered hidden on a commercial plane in southern India, reports say.

The gold was concealed in mobile phones packed in boxes in the cargo of the plane at Chennai airport.

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 raised duty on imports of gold jewellery to 10% from 8% last year .

The government is trying to curb demand for the precious metal, which many Indians traditionally hoard in the belief it will bring financial security.

The central bank says gold imports amounted to $3.9bn during the quarter ending last December, down from $16.4bn in the previous three months.

It is not clear who the sender and the recipient of gold discovered at Chennai airport were, but officials said the plane arrived from Hong Kong.

Last November cleaners found a stash of 24 gold bars worth more than $1.1m in the toilet compartment on board a Jet Airways flight at Kolkata airport. The plane had arrived from Bangkok.

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