The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has successfully foiled attempts of organised gold smuggling though air route by effecting two successive seizures in Lucknow and Mumbai last week, which had a common method of concealment of gold.
After having developed precise intelligence, on 06.05.2022, officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) inspected a consignment which had arrived from Dubai at Air Cargo Complex, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai.
In the import documents, the item was declared as “sectional & drum type drain cleaning machines”, but on careful examination, 5.8 kg gold valued at Rs. 3.10 crore in disc form was found concealed inside two motor rotors of the machine imported in the said consignment. The importer was located in south Mumbai and was arrested in swift action. The importer has been sent to judicial custody by the Court.
Figure 1: Seizure of smuggled gold at Mumbai Air Cargo Complex
This seizure in Mumbai is on the heels of another seizure made by DRI Officers in Lucknow a day earlier on 05.05.2022. In that case too, DRI intercepted an import cargo said to contain “electrical threading machine” at Air Cargo Complex of Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow, and gold discs were found concealed in the machines in very similar fashion. Total 5.2 kg gold, valued at Rs. 2.78 crore, was seized in that case.
Figure 2: Seizure of smuggled gold at Lucknow Airport
Over the last year, DRI has affected significant seizures of gold from cargo and courier consignments. In July 2021, DRI had seized 16.79 kg gold, valued at Rs. 8 crore, from a courier consignment, followed by seizure of 80.13 kg smuggled gold, valued at Rs. 39.31 crore, in November 2021 from a cargo consignment – both at New Delhi.
In yet another case in August 2021, DRI had detected use of similar mode of concealment of smuggled gold in a consignment which had arrived at International Courier Terminal, Mumbai. DRI had recovered 5.25 kg of concealed gold, valued at Rs. 2.67 crore, from that import consignment.
These series of detections have helped unearth novel modus operandi of smuggling foreign origin gold into India through the air cargo and courier route. Such detections reinforce DRI’s ability to detect and combat unique and sophisticated methods of smuggling. During 2021-22, DRI officers had affected seizures of 833 kg smuggled gold, valued at Rs. 405 crore.