Bengaluru, May 27: Smugglers find unique ways to send in their goods into the Indian market. A recent case in which a torch was sent to India by a courier has opened up the Pandora's box.
When the officials opened up the torch as they were suspicious about it, they found that it had batteries made out of gold.
This was a recent incident that took place at the Delhi airport and the investigations into the same has paved the way for a thorough probe which revealed that Gold smugglers are using unique tactics.
There has been a rise in the number of gold smuggling cases and the previous year alone has witnessed several cases in which at least 3000 kilograms of gold have been seized from various parts of the country.
Gold via courier
Gone are those days when a boat would land at a port with boxes filled with gold only to be picked up by a smuggler sporting funky sun glasses and a suit. Today most of the gold is coming into India through courier services and the smugglers have found various ways to beat the system.
Recent cases have found that torches with gold batteries have been sent through courier into India.
Compact discs made out of gold or a radio with a gold capacitor have been found by the investigating agencies. In another case it was found that a blender with gold blades had been couriered from Dubai to Chennai.
Smugglers in many cases have managed to get away by sending gold through courier. It took a while for the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and other agencies to realize what exactly was going on.
However repeated packages with the same contents is what gave the officials a lurking suspicion that something was wrong. Today the officials are on the look out for such suspicious packages.
Nepal had become the hub for gold smuggling, but that scenario has changed. A lot of the Nepal infrastructure has been dismantled in the wake of the devastating earthquake which hit the country recently. Gold from Nepal would be transported by road to India and then pumped into the different markets in the country.
After the government had increased duty on gold import to India, smugglers decided that it was time to undertaking a thriving business. The smugglers based out of Nepal activated the market in China, Dubai and Thailand.
The gold would land in Nepal and then be pushed into India. Investigators also found that the gold was being pushed into India through various routes.
Some of the prominent routes used to push gold into India from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu, the Bangladesh to West Bengal route and the Kandla port in Gujarat.
A fresh initiative
An officer with the DRI tells Oneindia that the instances of gold smuggling have been on the rise. In fact there has been a seizure of gold worth Rs 1200 crore last year.
This is a major jump in the number of gold smuggling incidents as the years 2011 and 2012 had only seen Rs 70 to 80 crore worth of gold being seized in India.
The hike on gold duty to boost the account deficit has had its flip side as well. The duty was increased to 10 per cent and this led the smuggles to try and make merry out of the situation.
However the Intelligence Bureau and the Customs officials are now awake to the problem of gold smuggling. It took some time for the agencies to realize the exact modus operandi. However today the situation has improved and the eyes and ears of the agencies are wide open to the problem.