GUWAHATI: As much as 897.336 kg of smuggled gold was seized in Assam and other Northeastern states (barring Sikkim) between 2019 and November, 2022, which is a clear indication that the region has turned into a preferred corridor for this illicit trade.
According to sources in the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), 166.849 kg of contraband gold was seized in 2019, 242.845 kg was seized in 2020, 296.580 kg was seized in 2021, and 191.062 kg was seized between January and November this year. The sources added that 213 cases were registered in connection with the seized gold.
According to a report of the DRI titled 'Smuggling in India', over a period of time there has been a transformation in the modalities adopted by the gold smugglers. While using the air route, the carriers mostly conceal the gold in their rectums, baggage and belongings. In the recent past, gold have been recovered from the smugglers in the form of thin foils, beadings of suitcases, paste and even powder, the report said.
In so far as the land route is concerned, the smugglers engage carrier vehicles such as trucks, cars, passenger buses and motorcycles, the report said. DRI sleuths have unearthed modes of concealment such as fuel tanks, dashboards, AC filters, seats, wheel axles, chassis cavities and spare tyres, apart from specially-built cavities in the vehicles. The report informed that in recent times, a trend has emerged of smugglers utilizing courier services and many such cases have been busted by the DRI. Gold is also being moulded into machinery parts and smuggled through import and courier consignments. DRI officers seized contraband gold neatly concealed and moulded to take the shape of auto parts and machinery cavities.
The report said that concessions given under the various export incentive schemes are also used to divert the gold imported without payment of duty. DRI officers also seized smuggled gold which was moulded into various shapes such as sheets, thin rods, square pieces etc., which were professionally concealed in various electronic goods like used laptops, tabs and trolley suitcases, which were brought into India as checked-in baggage by passengers returning from abroad.
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