DRI busts smuggling racket, gold worth Rs 32 crore seized; 7 held
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted an international gold smuggling racket and arrested seven of its members in the past 36 hours. The DRI also seized around 106 kilograms of smuggled gold worth around Rs 31.8 crore.
A senior official said it could be DRI’s biggest ever gold seizure. The racket had smuggled in nearly 200kg foreign-origin gold worth nearly Rs 60 crore into India from Dubai in the past three to four months, DRI officers said. The racket would declare the gold as brass and conceal it inside imported metal scrap to smuggle it. Officials are probing how the racket managed to get the gold declared as brass.
The arrested accused have been identified as Nisar Aliyar, 43, a Kerala resident, Shoeb Zarodarwala, 47, Abdul Zarodarwala, 26, Manoj Jain, 32, Aaquil Fruitwala, 39, Shaikh Ahad, 32, and Happy Dhakad, 34.
Shoeb is the owner of a tour agency, which was on the NIA’s radar for allegedly helping Areeb Majeed, alleged Islamic State recruit, for his visa out of India. According to the DRI, Aliyar, a businessman in Dubai, is the kingpin of the syndicate. DRI officers said Aliyar runs call centres in Dubai. A senior DRI officer said after sending the gold to India, Aliyar would come to India and pass the smuggled gold on to other accused to sell in the market. Dhakad, a bullion trader, helped Aliyar in this regard. After selling the gold, Aliyar would rout the cash to Dubai through Fruitwala, who runs a foreign exchange business. Fruitwala would send the money to Dubai in dirhams through hawala channels.
DRI officers said they received information that foreign-origin gold is being smuggled into India in the form of ropes, wire, rods and discs by concealing them in scrap metal. On Thursday, DRI laid a trap in Dongri and intercepted a two-wheeler and a car. They seized a combined 75kg of gold, worth around ₹24 crore. The drivers, Abdul Zarodarwala and Ahad, were arrested. Their arrest led to the arrests of Shoeb Zarodarwala, jeweller Manoj alias Raju Jain and Fruitwala.
On Thursday, the DRI carried out raids at the residence of Zarodarwala in Dongri and seized Rs 40 lakh cash. Raids were also held at the residence and office of Dhakad, resulting in recovery of Rs 73 lakh cash and 31.5kg gold.