TAMIL NADU

Diamonds worth Rs. 1 cr. go missing

K. T. Sangameswaran and P. Oppili



CHENNAI: Diamonds valued at about Rs. 1 crore, seized by Customs and kept sealed in a warehouse, are missing. The valuables, seized from a passenger at the international airport here in July 1990, had been replaced with polished stones.

The authorities have preferred a complaint with the CBI. An official source told The Hindu that the diamonds were kept in the warehouse in two sealed pouches. Later, they were taken out for display and re-deposited in a sealed condition. In December 2003, they were taken out for valuation and later sealed and kept in the warehouse.

In March this year, the diamonds were taken up for examination and valuation by a committee. On examination, the panel found the goods to be cut and polished stones, in the place of diamonds, except one packet. It was also detected that there was a difference between the original description of the goods and its value and those examined by the committee.

A senior officer in the Customs Department said the value of the replaced diamonds were estimated to be around Rs 1 crore. A few years ago a similar incident was reported in Customs office in Tiruchi from where original diamonds of nearly Rs 1 crore value were replaced with semi-precious stones, the officer added.

A case had been registered for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 380 (theft in dwelling—house, etc) IPC and sections 13 (2) and 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). An investigation is on. No clues have been obtained so far.

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