3 gold seizures in 3 days at Patna station confirm new smuggling modus operandi
For the third day in running, the Patna arm of the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) recovered smuggled gold on Saturday from possession of passengers travelling on Delhi bound long distance trains, bringing the increasing use of Indian railways for smuggling of gold metal and contraband into sharp focus.
In the latest and the third incident, one Maharashtra resident was apprehended at Patna railway junction from Dibrugarh-Delhi special train and 26 gold biscuits of foreign-origin, weighing 4.3kgs and valuing over Rs 2 crore, were recovered from his possession on Saturday night, said an official aware of the developments.
A day earlier on Friday night, the DRI team had apprehended two persons from 02423 Dibrugarh- New Delhi AC special and recovered 12 foreign origin gold biscuits weighing 1.99 kg, valued at over Rs 1 crore, from their possession, he added.
And on Thursday, the DRI team arrested two persons including a woman from 02549 North East Festival Special train and recovered three foreign-origin gold bars weighing 1.496 kg. Those arrested were identified as Afroz Amirullah and Mohammad Shamad, both residents of Mumbai, who were travelling in AC-2 compartment of the Delhi bound train.
The back-to-back seizures have revealed that smugglers from states such as Maharashtra, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are increasingly using long-distance trains to smuggle gold into Delhi and other parts of the country, said the official quoted above.
The intensified checking at the airports compared to the absence of baggage scanning and other security features at majority of railway stations in the country has led to the smugglers relying on rail routes, the official added.
The suspect, arrested on Saturday, was identified as Sanjay Katkar, a resident of Sangli in Maharashtra and he was picked up from B4 compartment of Dibrugarh-Delhi special train. In his statement, recorded under section 108 of the Customs Act, he said the gold had been smuggled from Myanmar into India.
The official said that the two accused arrested a day earlier on Friday were identified as Sunil Lun and Ravi Chug-- both residents of Thane in Maharashtra. Ravi was travelling in A-1 coach, while Sunil was travelling in H-1 compartment of the train. The gold was found concealed in the waistbands worn by the duo.
They couldn’t produce any valid document showing legal importation, possession and transportation of the gold bars, valued at Rs 1.1 crore by a government value assessor, he said.
“Acting on the basis of specific intelligence, very meticulously and painstakingly developed over days, the sleuths of Patna Zonal Unit of DRI apprehended two persons at Patliputra Railway Station when the train arrived,”said the official.
The intelligence inputs indicated that the recovered gold bars carrying foreign markings, had been smuggled into India from Myanmar through the international land border at Moreh in Manipur by a smuggling syndicate operating from Guwahati.
Intelligence officers say rail routes are becoming popular among smugglers as it not only provides them with a safe, surveillance-free passage but also allows switching of handlers, carriers and routes, to avoid being tracked.
The DRI have also intercepted a person identified as Kishan Lal of Madhya Pradesh near Patna junction. He was found carrying a consignment of 2.99 kgs of Heroin, worth Rs 15 crores.
An RPF officer said that smugglers disguise ganja as luggage.
“Most of the time, ganja is smuggled in general compartments. Since they are jam-packed, no one notices the extra luggage,” he added.