Bling Bling Singh: Delhi trader may have smuggled gold bars worth Rs 600 cr
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials suspect syndicate, led by Delhi-based businessman Harnek Singh may have smuggled around 2,000 kg of foreign-mark gold bars worth Rs 600 crore from Dubai through sea routes.Updated: May 23, 2017 11:13 IST
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) may have busted the nation’s biggest gold smuggling racket. Officials suspect that this syndicate, led by Delhi-based businessman, may have smuggled around 2,000 kg of foreign-mark gold bars worth Rs 600 crore from Dubai through sea routes.
The agency seized 52kg of gold, worth Rs 15 crore, from a consignment imported from Dubai by a Delhi-based firm at Mundra port in Gujarat on Sunday.
The Delhi DRI arrested the kingpin Harnek Singh last weekend for allegedly smuggling more than 300kg of gold bars into the country over the past two years. On May 13, Delhi DRI confiscated 44kg of gold, concealed in rod-type poultry incubators and trucked in a container from the port of Mundra in Gujarat to Singh’s factory in the national capital.
“After this seizure, we had alerted the ports across the country since we had the information that Singh’s consignments are on the way. We are expecting more seizures in coming days. The Gandhidham unit of DRI seized another 52kg of foreign-mark gold on Sunday. Gold was concealed in a metallic frame used as packing material for poultry egg incubator, which was shipped from Dubai,” said a DRI official.
Singh allegedly operates with his brother-in-law in Dubai and uses the hawala network to transfer money, bypassing banking channels and leaving no paper trail. Investigators say he doesn’t use flights, the preferred transport for gold smugglers, because the risk of getting caught at airports is high. He sticks to the time-tested formula of the 1970s — ship the merchandise on merchant vessels.
The modus operandi is simple. Singh buys a single incubator and a few other devices, such as disassembled poultry egg brooder panels from dealers in Dubai. His brother sends the consignment, hiding around 50kg of gold bars in the metallic case of the incubator.
The gold bars are wrapped in a thick silver-grey paper smeared in adhesive to prevent the metals from making any noise that could raise any suspicion.
“We will book him under COFEPOSA (the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act), an act of the Parliament passed in 1974 during administration of Indira Gandhi, to retain foreign currency and prevent smuggling. We will ensure that duty on 2,000kg gold is recovered,” the official added.
Investigators said they found proof of the smuggling racket and hawala transactions to Dubai during searches at his home and factory. The DRI’s Delhi unit recovered WhatsApp messages between Singh and his relative which confirms the racket and that gold has been smuggled in India at least 24 times in two years. “We have been tracking this person for a long time,” the officer said.
Singh, who owns a fleet of 11 expensive cars like Porsche, Mini Cooper, BMW and more, is still in jail and his cars may be seized by DRI. Also, he has three big apartments and a large factory that manufactures appliances for poultry farms.
First Published: May 21, 2017 21:56 IST