About 110kg of gold has been seized from smugglers at the Delhi airport this year, a senior customs official said today. Though the number of gold smuggling cases registered so far this year by the customs is slightly more than last year’s figure, the quantity of gold seized is 78kg less compared to the total seizure made in 2016, he said. He attributed the decline in the haul mainly to demonetisation. Total 114 cases of smuggling have been registered between January and October this year at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the official said. In these cases, 110kg of gold, valued at about Rs 37 crore, was seized, he said, adding that 62 smugglers were arrested in these cases for their alleged involvement in illegal ferrying of the yellow metal. In 2016, total 110 cases were registered by the customs, with a whopping 188-kg haul of gold, valued at Rs 48 crore, the official said. Seventy-nine people were arrested for their alleged involvement in gold smuggling by the customs in 2016, he said. Gold smuggling has taken a hit due to demonetisation as ‘hawala’ transactions, used to bring the yellow metal into the country, was completely stopped, the official said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8, 2016, a ban on old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The demand of gold has been traditionally high in the country as people prefer to invest in it for better returns. Nearly 355 cases of gold smuggling were reported at the international airport in the financial year 2015-2016. In these cases, the customs authorities had seized 450kg of gold, valued at a whopping Rs 132 crore, he said. About 190 people were arrested in these cases. About 240 cases of gold smuggling were reported in 2016- 17 fiscal. About 260kg of gold, valued at Rs 76.31 crore, was seized by the customs at the Delhi airport, he said.
About 100 people were arrested in these cases, the official said. The seizure is also the result of stepped up surveillance at the airport to check smuggling. The customs officials maintain a high vigil at the Delhi airport as it is one of the entry points in the country which registers maximum number of cases of gold smuggling. Gold worth Rs 70 lakh was seized from three alleged smugglers by the customs at the airport between Friday and Sunday.