Kozhikode

Rise in gold smuggling via Calicut airport

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106.79 kg seized in the first six months this year

Smuggling of gold via Calicut International Airport has increased in recent times in spite of the Customs Department taking stringent measures against it.

One of the reasons cited is the spurt in gold demand in the State even as carriers are devising innovative methods to smuggle the yellow metal from abroad, mainly United Arab Emirates (UAE). Officials have registered about 265 cases seizing 127. 62 kg of gold till November this fiscal. This was valued at ₹32. 92 crore.

The State is one of the largest consumers of gold in India. Buying gold is cheaper in Dubai even after the introduction of 5% of Value Added Tax in the UAE or any of the GCC nations. If one gram of 22 carat gold is priced ₹3,760 in India its value in Dubai is 168 Dirham (₹3,260).

Gold prices rose to ₹35,800 per 10 gm on Wednesday and has been moving up nearly 13% globally due to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China in the last two years.

The total quantity of gold seized from the in-bound passengers at the Calicut airport was 51.85 kg in 2017 and 158.79 kg in 2018 . Incidentally, the quantity was 106.79 kg in the first six months of 2019.

Better quality of gold prompt Non-Resident Indians to bring gold ornaments or even biscuits to the State. But the law states that passengers who have been abroad for six months have been permitted to bring jewellery of 20 g (male passenger) and 40 g (female passenger) free of duty.

But for gold racketeers smuggling gold from the Gulf, especially during the wedding season, is big business. Sometimes they employ women for smuggling. Disguising gold as decorative beading on handbags, concealing it in household electronic equipment, laptops and mobile phones are some of their modus operandi. This apart from numerous cases of hiding gold in body cavities. Gold is also smuggled in powdered form. The powdered metal is mixed with gum or chemical paste as in some recent seizures, official said.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:12:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/rise-in-gold-smuggling-via-calicut-airport/article30166821.ece

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