Gold smugglers giving tough time to enforcement agencies

‘We suspect goldsmiths are purchasing the yellow metal in grey market’

Surging gold prices in the international markets are keeping officials of various security and enforcement agencies on their toes, not only at airports but also at railway and bus stations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

With bootleggers taking to innovative methods to smuggle the contraband, sources said that Hyderabad had become a hot spot in the smuggling of gold and foreign currencies owing to increase of takers in the grey market, especially in the districts.

In the past few weeks, officials of the Customs, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and even Central Industrial Security Force have nabbed several persons coming from Dubai, Jeddah and Middle East countries with smuggled yellow metal.

Among other practices adopted by the carriers, concealment of the metal in the rectum and electrical home appliances seems to be the preferred mode.

In the last seven days alone, enforcement agencies deployed at the RGIA detained several Indian-origin passengers who tried to smuggle the gold or its paste

On Friday, a passenger who arrived from Jeddah at the city airport was detained by Customs for smuggling 1.2 kg foreign-origin gold worth ₹48 lakh. A day before he was arrested, another air passenger who tried to smuggle 986 grams of gold paste by concealing it in his rectum was nabbed by the agency. He arrived from Bangkok

In three cases, DRI officials detained eight persons carrying 2.5 kg foreign-origin gold worth ₹1 crore at Hyderabad and Mumbai airports.

On February 9, four female passengers who arrived from Jeddah at the city airport were detained by the Air Intelligence Unit of Customs department and 2.5 kg foreign-origin gold was seized from their possession.

“Over the past few months, there has been an abnormal increase in the smuggling of gold, not only from the airport but also via trains and buses. And, surprisingly, people who were purchasing the yellow metal were not only from Hyderabad but aslo from other districts of Telangana,” a top official said.

He said in February first week, the DRI seized a whopping 31.5 kg smuggled gold worth ₹13.3 crore from 12 persons in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The contraband was being smuggled to Warangal and Hyderabad from Chennai in trains and buses and the accused were intercepted by DRI officials of Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Nellore zones.

“We suspect goldsmiths in the districts are ganging up and sending their workers to Chennai to purchase the yellow metal in the grey market. Erstwhile Warangal, Karimnagar and Nizamabad have become hubs of such activities,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 7:00:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/gold-smugglers-giving-tough-time-to-enforcement-agencies/article30830764.ece

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