A major gold smuggling racket that illegally brought around 7,000 kilograms of gold worth over Rs 2,000 crore from Myanmar to India in past over two years has been busted by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
The syndicate was smuggling the gold through Indo-Myanmar land border and then bringing it to Delhi and other locations in domestic flights by declaring the yellow metal as valuable cargo, the DRI said in a press release issued today.
The case came to light when the officers of Delhi zonal unit of the agency seized 10 kg of gold at the domestic cargo terminal of Indira Gandhi International airport recently. The seized gold bars of 24 carat purity were admittedly smuggled into India from Myanmar and brought to Delhi from Guwahati by a domestic flight, it said.
Market value of the 10 kg of seized gold is Rs 3.1 crore. Involvement of the employees of the airlines and others is being investigated by the DRI.
Two accused–a Guwahati-based businessman and his Delhi-based aide–have been arrested by the DRI and sent to judicial custody. They had brought gold to Delhi from Guwahati on 617 occasions by declaring it as the valuable cargo in domestic flights, the release said.
“The Delhi zonal unit of the DRI has busted a major gold smuggling racket involving smuggling of around 7,000 kgs of gold worth more than Rs 2,000 crore, over a period of past two and half years. This probably is the single biggest case of detection of gold smuggling by any agency in India,” it said. The Guwahati-based businessman was also involved in many cases of gold smuggling in the past, wherein 37 kilograms of gold worth Rs nine crore was seized by DRI. He was also arrested by the Guwahati unit of DRI in February, 2015 for smuggling gold of about 12 kgs and later was released on bail.
Intelligence has revealed that huge quantities of gold bars of foreign origin are being smuggled from Myanmar through Indo-Myanmar border adjacent to Moreh in Manipur and from the Zokhatwar area in Mizoram. The intelligence indicates that activities relating to smuggling of gold bars are continuing unabated, the DRI said.
Though the detection of smuggling of gold through Indo-Myanmar border is challenging due to the topography and porosity of the land border, however, the DRI has been successful in effecting sizeable seizures of gold of foreign origin, emanating from Myanmar.
It included seizure of 87 kgs of gold in March 2015 at Siliguri and 58 kgs of gold at Kolkata in August this year, in which 12 persons were arrested by DRI, Kolkata. In another case involving seizure of 12 kgs of gold in Mumbai last month, 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 September 11, USD 7.5 lakh, valued at about Rs five crore, was seized near Siliguri by DRI Kolkata from a truck bound for Manipur. The amount was for purchasing of gold in Myanmar and its subsequent smuggling in to the country, the press release said.
On September 13, DRI officials also seized 27.5 kgs of gold from a Bolero vehicle, which was smuggled from Myanmar through the Moreh border. The value of the seized gold is Rs 8.56 crore.
DRI has achieved significant results in the recent past. Value of gold seizures by it in the current financial year upto yesterday in about Rs 91 crore.