Liton Chandra Nath Nepal, who works for the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) under the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said the incident took place during an after-midnight run when he picked four passengers from Terminal-1 of Dubai Airport to Muraqqabat in Deira recently.
“The passengers had four pieces of luggage which they had put inside the boot. When they got off at their destination at around 2.45am, I offered to help them unload the bags as it is customary to do so. But they refused my help. So I went back to the driver’s seat and left after they paid me the fare,” said Liton Chandra.
He said the realisation that gold lay in his taxi dawned on him only an hour and 40 minutes later.
He said, “It was almost the end of my shift when I received a call from RTA’s Customer Support. The Dubai Police was asking if a customer had left any bag in my taxi. I said I would check and sure enough, found a grey coloured laptop bag with the gold inside the boot. I immediately reported it to the authorities and handed it over to the RTA’s Lost & Found section.”
He said, “I was shocked as there were eight bars of gold in the bag — four fat and four slim. When the authorities weighed the bars, they were around 25kg in total. One of the passengers whom I had dropped off at Muraqqabat was present there and we returned the gold to him after completing all the necessary formalities. The man was fair-skinned and said he was from Libya.”
Asked if the passenger had rewarded him, Liton replied, “He said thank you.”
The taxi driver, however, noted that the RTA had acknowledged his actions and rewarded him generously. “Our CEO Dr Yousuf Al Ali, awarded me a cash prize of Dh1,000 and free housing for a year. Our Rail CEO Abdul Moshin Ebrahim Younus presented me with a cash award of Dh5,000. I also received a certificate of appreciation.”
Liton said his family was proud of what he had done. “My mother blessed me and said I had made her proud. My three sisters were also very happy,” added the still-single taxi driver who has been with DTC since 2010.
On the flip side: things one can buy with Dh3.5 million
--668 Emirates Business Class air tickets (round trip) from Dubai to Dhaka
--1,129 devices of the latest iPhone 7 Plus
--15-night stay at the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland
--A three bedroom waterfront apartment in Dubai Marina or even The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai
--A one-bedroom apartment in Central Park West in New York
--Two Rolls Royce Phantoms