Indian Coast Guard, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seize ₹20 crore worth gold smuggled from Sri Lanka

Updated - June 01, 2023 11:58 pm IST

Published - June 01, 2023 07:17 pm IST - Rameswaram

A scuba diver with a consignment found in the seabed in the Gulf of Mannar on Thursday.

A scuba diver with a consignment found in the seabed in the Gulf of Mannar on Thursday.

On the second day of search by scuba divers deployed by the Indian Coast Guard and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Central agencies recovered 11.600 kg of gold from the seabed in Gulf of Mannar on Thursday.

The joint operation resulted in seizure of a total of 32.689 kg of gold bars valued around ₹20.20 crore from two fishing boats at Gulf of Mannar since May 30, when the consignment was smuggled into India from Sri Lanka.

​Based on specific input from DRI on illegal smuggling of contraband from Sri Lanka to India, the joint teams kept a close watch on fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Mannar, especially near the India-Sri Lankan International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), a release said.

On May 30, the team detected a suspicious boat approaching the Mandapam fishing harbour in the morning. When challenged, the boat tried to evade the team but was apprehended in north Gulf of Mannar. While being chased, the suspects threw a consignment into water. The boat, along with three suspects, was apprehended and taken into custody for investigation. Simultaneously, a major diving operation was launched by the Indian Coast Guard to search for the illegal gold dumped at sea.

Gold bars seized from the seabed at Mandapam in Ramanathapuram district.

Gold bars seized from the seabed at Mandapam in Ramanathapuram district.

​Meanwhile, a separate team from DRI apprehended a second suspicious boat off Vedalai village south of Mandapam. The boat had about 21.269 kg of smuggled gold, which was seized by DRI along with two suspects who were taken into custody.

​After a relentless diving operation off the coast of Mandapam for two days, the ICG diving team in coordination with local divers successfully recovered the gold consignment from the seabed on Thursday morning. The seized contraband and suspects are in the custody of DRI for further legal action. ​

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