Kolkata: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized nearly 20 kg of gold, smuggled into India from neighbouring Myanmar, worth Rs 6.73 crore, according to an official statement issued Wednesday.
Two persons have been arrested by the DRI in the case.
The DRI had received some actionable information that a syndicate was actively engaged in smuggling of huge quantity of foreign-origin gold from Myanmar into India through Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur and sending it to West Bengal.
“Accordingly, the DRI sleuths laid out an elaborate plan and in a skillfully executed operation successfully identified the carrier. The officers then intercepted the carrier as he was about to hand over the yellow metal to the receiver on Tuesday,” the statement said.
Search of the persons and a residential flat in Howrah resulted in recovery and seizure of 120 biscuits of foreign-origin gold, totally weighing 19.92 kg valued at Rs 6.73 crore well-concealed in sandals, bags and mattresses, it said.
Kolkata turning into a gold-smuggling hub
With this seizure, in the current financial year, in the region spread over West Bengal and the Northeastern states, the DRI has seized about 415 kg of gold and jewellery of the same metal valued close to Rs 130 crore.
The seized gold are believed to be smuggled from India’s land borders with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and China.
The DRI had on 7 January carried out a search operation along the India-Bangladesh international border, following a tip off. The cache of gold recovered from smugglers then was worth Rs 3.77 crore. Two men, suspected to be part of a smuggling racket, were held during that DRI operation.
The suspects had taken the Gede-Ranaghat local train and disembarked at the Majdia station where they were arrested.
Sources in the DRI had said then that the smugglers were carrying the biscuits in specially made belts.
In another case of smuggling of the precious metal in belts, 56 biscuits weighing 9 kg 300 g and worth more than Rs 3 crore were recovered from a suspect at the NJP station.
Out of all the gold biscuits, alleged smuggler Raju Adarsh carried 38 in his belt and the rest hidden in detachable soles of his shoes. He was coming to Kolkata from Assam by Kamrup Express in November last year and had plans to sneak into Myanmar.
By raiding three different places in Kolkata and Howrah, the DRI has seized illegal gold weighing 9 kg, silver weighing 18 kg and cash worth Rs 1 crore 13 lakh in October 2018.
This cache had arrived from Nepal. A Howrah-based smuggler Nilesh Arvind is alleged to have been the kingpin of this racket. Along with the suspected smuggler, traders from Maharashtra, namely Bhau Saheb Panase and Dattatreya Shinde, were arrested from Arvind’s apartment after none of the three could furnish any documentary evidence of purchase of the precious metals.
Even earlier, 36 gold biscuits worth Rs 7 crore was seized in a raid at the Dharmatala bus stand in August 2018. On the same day, the DRI recovered 12 gold biscuits and 20 gold bricks from two Mizo passengers travelling by the same bus. Another smuggler from Siliguri was caught, bringing in 12 kg of gold to Kolkata.
In the same month (August 2018) some days later, the DRI seized gold weighing 20 kg from different locations of Siliguri.
Bengali language newspapers are full of such stories of gold smuggling that are unfolding in Kolkata and other locations in West Bengal.