DRI busts largest ever gold smuggling racket

The Delhi Zonal Unit (DZU) of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a major gold smuggling racket involving smuggling of around 7,000 kilograms 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, said an official release.

This case came to light when the officers of the DZU of the DRI seized 10 kilograms of gold at the domestic cargo terminal of IGI airport, Delhi, during the intervening night of September 1 and September 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 the DRI in Delhi and remanded to judicial custody. The said 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 the DRI. He was also arrested by the Guwahati Unit of DRI in February 2015 for smuggling gold of about 12 kg and later was released on bail.

Intelligence also reveals 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 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.