Jet Airways stewardess nabbed for smuggling US$500,000 in cash out of India

A video circulating online showed investigators taking out the cash from their foil wrappers, which was done to evade detection by x-ray scanners.
A video circulating online showed investigators taking out the cash from their foil wrappers, which was done to evade detection by x-ray scanners.PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM YOUTUBE

An Indian air stewardess was nabbed after a foiled attempt to smuggle nearly US$500,000 (S$666,750) out of the country in her luggage.

Devshi Kulshreshtha, 25, was on a Jet Airways flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong early Monday morning (Jan 8) when she was arrested following a tip-off, local officials said.

Officials from India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence found wads of US$100 dollar bills hidden below shoes and cosmetics, and tightly packed in foil and cloth, said Indian broadcaster NDTV.

A video circulating online showed investigators taking out the cash from their foil wrappers, which was done to evade detection by X-ray scanners.

Kulshreshtha was allegedly working with a 40-year-old Indian man, Amit Malhotra, who ran a network to smuggle money based in New Delhi.

Investigators said that Malhotra collected money from bullion dealers in the city and would try to get airline staff to take the money abroad, which was then channelled back to India in the form of gold, according to NDTV.

Malhotra allegedly befriended Ms Kulshrestha on a flight six months ago and convinced her to smuggle the money to Hong Kong.

In a statement to BBC, Jet Airways confirmed that the employee had been arrested and said they would not tolerate illegal activity by staff.

Officials also told the BBC that other Jet Airways crew members may be involved in the ruse and "there could be more arrests of a similar nature".

NDTV reported that Kulshrestha was trained as an air stewardess at an institute in Dehradun, and she had worked with the airlines for six years.