The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the country’s top anti-smuggling intelligence, investigations and operations agency, busted an international gold smuggling racket on Friday when it arrested eight passengers at the New Delhi railway station with 504 gold biscuits, with foreign markings, concealed in their clothes.
The gold bars, valued at Rs 43 crore, were found hidden in the specially tailored cloth vests worn by the eight men, who were travelling on the Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani Express using fake Aadhaar cards, the DRI Deputy Director said.
The agency stated that the arrests were made on the basis of very specific intelligence gathered by its Delhi Zonal Unit sleuths over months.
“Intelligence inputs indicate that these gold bars were smuggled into India from Myanmar through the international land border at Moreh in Manipur, and the smuggling syndicate, operating from Guwahati, was attempting to dispose of the contraband in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai,” the agency’s official statement read.
The seized gold bars – which were arranged to spell DRI-DZU and yesterday’s date (August 28, 2020) in large letters – are of 99.9 per cent purity and collectively weigh 83.6kg.
According to the agency, the syndicate identifies and hires needy individuals from various states to act as carriers of the smuggled gold. “The smugglers use air, land and rail routes to locally transport the smuggled gold,” the statement read.
The eight men have been arrested under the Customs’ Act-1962 and remanded to judicial custody. Further investigation is in progress.
There have been numerous instances of the Custom’s Department apprehending passengers with smuggled gold at international airports, but this was among the few instances when suspects were stopped at a railway station.
Though gold smuggling in India has declined because of Covid-related travel restrictions, cases have started emerging again with resumption of international flights, even if limited.
Most recently, on Friday, two people were arrested in connection with the seizure of 1.16 kg of 24 karat gold worth Rs 64 lakh by the Customs at the Chennai Airport.
(With inputs from agencies)