New Delhi: The Delhi Zonal Unit (DZU) of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a major gold smuggling racket involving smuggling of around 7000 kilograms of gold worth more than Rs. 2000 crore, over a period of last two and half years.
This is perhaps the single largest case of gold smuggling detected by any agency in India. The value of gold seizures by DRI in the current financial year (2016-17) up to 18 September, 2016 alone is about Rs 91 crore.
The gold smuggling case came to light when the officers of the Delhi Zonal Unit (DZU) of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 10 kilograms of gold at the domestic cargo terminal of IGI airport in the capital during the intervening night of September 1 and 2. The seized gold bars of 24 carat purity were admittedly smuggled into India through the Indo-Myanmar land borders and were brought to Delhi from Guwahati by a domestic flight. Market value of the total seized goods is around Rs. 3.1 crore. Involvement of the employees of the airlines and others is being investigated by DRI.
This racket had adopted an ingenious modus operandi of gold smuggling wherein smuggled goods were brought to Delhi from Guwahati on 617 occasions by declaring it as valuable cargo in domestic flights operated by a particular airline, to avoid being detected by Customs. So far, smugglers had been known to be using train and bus routes to carry smuggled gold into different parts of India.
Two of the accused, a Guwahati-based businessman and his Delhi-based aide, have been arrested by DRI in Delhi and remanded to judicial custody. The arrested Guwahati-based businessman was also involved in many cases of smuggling of gold in the past, wherein 37 kilograms of gold worth Rs. 9 crore was seized by DRI. He was also arrested by the Guwahati Unit of DRI in February, 2015 for smuggling 12 kg of gold and later was released on bail.
It has been revealed by DRI that huge quantities of gold bars of foreign origin are being smuggled from Myanmar through Indo-Myanmar border adjacent to Moreh in the state of Manipur and from the Zokhawthar area in Mizoram. Intelligence indicates that activities relating to smuggling of gold bars are continuing unabated. Detection of smuggling of gold through Indo-Myanmar border is challenging due to the topography and porosity of the land border.
DRI has been successful in effecting sizable seizures of gold of foreign origin, emanating from Myanmar, including seizure of 87 kilograms of gold in March, 2015 at Siliguri and 58 kilograms of gold at Kolkata in August, 2016, in which 12 persons were arrested by DRI, Kolkata. In another case involving seizure of 12 kgs of gold in Mumbai on 5 August this year by Mumbai DRI, investigations revealed that the same group had smuggled 700 kgs of gold, valued at over Rs. 200 crore, in the preceding 18 months period. On 11 September this year, foreign currency notes of 7.5 lakh US dollars, valued at about Rs 5 crore were seized near Siliguri by DRI Kolkata Zonal unit from a truck bound for Manipur for smuggling to Myanmar to purchase gold to be brought back by smuggling into the country. A few days ago, on 13 September, DRI Guwahati seized 27.5 kg gold from a Bolero vehicle, valued at Rs 8.56 crore, which was smuggled from Myanmar through the Moreh border.
During the current financial year, from April to July, 2016, the licit import of gold (under CTH 7108) has drastically reduced to about 107 metric tons valued at Rs 24000 crore, as compared to 274 metric tons, valued at Rs 60,700 crore, in the corresponding period in the last financial Year. Total gold import in 2015-16 was about 855 metric tons, valued at about Rs. 1,79,172 crore.
DRI has achieved significant results in the recent past. Value of gold seizures by DRI in the current financial year up to 18th September, 2016 is about Rs 91 crore.
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