It was definitely a very desperate attempt to smuggle gold bars. A 63-year old Indian businessman recently went under the knife in a hospital in New Delhi. He initially complained he had accidentally swallowed the cap of a water bottle and wanted it removed. What the surgeons discovered was otherwise and beyond their wildest imaginations.
As part of procedures, the Indian man was asked to have himself undergo an X-ray.
"He approached us on April 7 seeking surgery to remove a water bottle cap which he claimed he had accidentally swallowed. We got an X-ray done and it didn't appear to be a cap. As the gold bars got stacked one behind the other it appeared to be a metal," the Indian Express quoted Dr C S Ramachandran, senior consulting surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram hospital.
Operated on April 9, the surgeons removed a whopping 12 gold biscuits from the man's abdomen, worth to be around US$23,000. The surgery lasted three hours.
Both police and customs authorities seized the gold and immediately questioned the businessman.
"When we asked him (how the gold got into his abdomen), he was not ready to speak. We immediately sealed them in a container and handed it over to the medical superintendent," Mr Ramachandran said. The hospital discharged the patient on April 15.
But Indian Express, citing unidentified hospital sources, said the Indian businessman swallowed the safe haven yellow metal gold biscuits in an attempt to smuggle them into the country from Singapore 10 days ago.
Smuggling gold into India has been rising steadily, no thanks to the government's measures to hike its import duty on the yellow metal from 4 per cent to a huge 15 per cent in 2013.
The customs department at the Delhi airport likewise reported that by the end of 2013 alone, it had seized 352 kg of gold, 52 times over the previous year.
"If the gold had stayed inside for couple of more days, it would have led to severe bleeding and rapture of the intestine and septicemia," Dr Ramachandran said.
The gold smuggling would have gone unnoticed had the businessman was able to get them out through his stool. But he had no recourse but to seek professional medical help when he the metals started hurting him.