The customs department’s warehouse at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is nothing short of a treasure chest.
Over 50 years of diligent seizures has caused the warehouse swell with at least 550 kg of gold and 3,400 kg of silver, estimated cost of which is around Rs 160 crore.
The customs department will soon open its doors for auctioning the items.
On March 15, Hindustan Times had reported that the customs officials stumbled upon two parcels lying in the warehouse since 1954. Gold articles weighing 20 kg were found in the parcels with an estimated value of Rs 6 crore. It was then that the customs department decided to conduct an audit of all the material lying in the godown.
The audit revealed that nearly 550 kg gold and 3,400 kg silver in jewellery and other articles was lying in the warehouse for over 50 years. “We have 500 kg gold in the forms of slabs and biscuits and another 50 kg in the form of ornaments. Apart from that, we have 3,000 kg silver in slabs and 400 kg in the form of jewellery. Disposing it of is a long process because of which customs officials never touched it,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
The officials have now decided to sell off gold. The auction will be conducted in several phases.
Apart from gold and silver, Indian and foreign currency and fake currency notes are also stored in the warehouse. “We have old electronic items, which are of no use now. We will dispose them of. Same is the case with drugs. To dispose of the contraband, we need to take permission from various agencies,” said the official.
During the last financial year, the customs department has sold 95 kg gold, earning nearly R25 crore. From the sale of a large quantity of gold, the customs department (preventive) north zone earned revenue of Rs 188 crore. If the gold is in the biscuit form, the customs sell it to State Bank of India (SBI), which then sells it to customers. However, gold jewellery is sent to the government mint at Nasik in Maharashtra.
In 2011-12, the customs department had sold seized gold worth Rs 6 crore.