In November, two senior citizens from Frankfurt, Germany were arrested for allegedly smuggling 995 grams of gold worth Rs 25.54 lakh in India. Customs officials made the arrests based on inputs from its Air Intelligence wing.
With Dubai and Singapore being the hot-shot places in the world for smuggling gold for some time, the smugglers have now found new spots to do their business. Top European cities like Paris, Milan, London, Birmingham, and Istanbul are among the few new locations that the customs officials are keeping a tab on. The European cities came to light from customs officials at Indira Gandhi International Airport after multiple cases of gold smuggling originating from these cities. Officials said this is a deviation from the earlier route, which originated from Gulf cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Asian cities such as Bangkok and Singapore.
While speaking to The Sunday Express, a senior officer in the customs department said that in the last three months, they have observed that gold smugglers have “shifted to European cities to evade arrest”. Due to the difference in rates, gold used to be smuggled from Dubai and Singapore said the customs officials. “This year, we have seized 214.137 kg of gold worth Rs 59.27 crore, as compared to 180.36 kg gold in 2016,” an official said.
From January this year to October, at least 110 kg of gold was seized from smugglers at the airport. The value of the gold is said to be around Rs 37 crore. Last year, 110 cases were lodged and 188 kg gold — valued at Rs 48 crore — was seized.
In November, two senior citizens from Frankfurt, Germany were arrested for allegedly smuggling 995 grams of gold worth Rs 25.54 lakh in India. Customs officials made the arrests based on inputs from its Air Intelligence wing. On November 2, a man who flew to New Delhi from London was arrested for allegedly smuggling over 1 kg gold — worth around Rs 30 lakh. The gold was concealed in his rectum.
Similarly, on December 6, a 49-year-old French national was intercepted at IGI Airport and the customs department recovered 191 gold medallions and a gold bar worth Rs 72 lakh from his possession. Customs officials were alerted to the switch in routes during an investigation into a smuggling case registered recently. “We found that smugglers have started using the European route in the last three months,” an official said.
“Earlier, all officials at IGIA were asked to monitor passengers coming from Gulf countries and check any attempts at gold smuggling. Now, they have been asked to broaden the scope,” an official said.“The average profit made per kg of smuggled gold is Rs 2.5 lakh-Rs 3 lakh. There is a variation of the rate by 10-16% between these countries and India,” the official added.