The increase in duty on the regular import of gold has resulted in a spurt in seizure of smuggled gold at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).
A customs official told HT that they have already seized 36 kg gold worth Rs 10 crore in this financial year, which is six times higher than last year.
“In the last financial year, we had seized 6kg gold worth Rs 2 crore.
This year, till September, we have seized six times that number. Moreover, there are still three months to go this year,” said a senior customs official.
The customs official said that the agency has caught 21 persons this year as compared to a single arrest last year.
Some unique methods of smuggling have also been reported though the most common remains smuggling it in the form of jewellery.
Many smugglers with gold bars concealed in their rectum have also been caught.
“In 1980s and ’90s, when gold smuggling was at its peak, several cases were reported in which smugglers were caught hiding gold bars in the soles of their shoes which were specially prepared for this purpose. Later, smugglers started using bags with false cavities,” the official added.
`But the safest, and the easiest way, which has now become a trend is smuggling gold in the form of jewellery.
“Women are being used as carriers. We now keep an eye on women dripping in jewellery. But since we can’t check every passenger, many still manage to evade detection,” the official said.
“Thankfully, there’s no more scope for large-scale smuggling. Earlier, even airline staff used to be involved in smuggling of gold,” he further added.
The spurt in gold smuggling has come at a time when the goldcarrying limit for women has been raised from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh and for men, it has gone up from ` 10,000 to Rs 50,000.
Gold bangles and white gold chains weighing 1.67 kg worth Rs 40 lakh recovered from an Afghan national
A passenger, who was trying to smuggle gold in the form of stapler pins was arrested and 755 gm gold worth Rs 20 lakh was recovered from him.
The same day, another passenger was caught with gold jewellery worth Rs 50 lakh tied around his legs.
In another haul that day, the customs department found four unclaimed pieces of gold bars weighing about 448 gm wrapped in yellow paper from washroom near international transfer check in area.
A passenger was arrested and 6.45 kg of gold bars worth Rs 1.67 crore were recovered from him.
A person, who had concealed gold bars inside his body, was arrested.
The police recovered gold bars weighing 1 kg from him.
That day, the customs department also managed to nab two passengers coming from Bangkok by an Air India flight with 2 kg gold bars concealed in a TV stand.