Gold bars worth Rs 5.5 crore seized from JNPT, one held
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted a gold smuggling racket on Thursday and seized 163 gold bars, weighing 19-kg, worth Rs 5.54 crore at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Navi Mumbai.
The gold was smuggled to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in three scrap metal pipes. On Friday, DRI officers arrested the proprietor of an import company for allegedly smuggling the yellow metal into the country.
Senior DRI officers said that they had received specific information on the five suspected containers, based on which they seized the smuggled gold at JNPT. On searching the metal pipes, the officers found gold bars concealed in black tapes.
“It was quite challenging for the DRI to seize the smuggled gold bars, as they were concealed inside the pipes. But we succeeded in finding the bars,” said a DRI Mumbai unit officer.
On investigating, the officers learnt that the gold was smuggled by a firm named Shourya Exim from the UAE to India. The firm’s proprietor, Rajesh Bhanushali, was arrested on Friday and charged with relevant sections of the Customs Act. Officers are probing his call data and scrutinising the import activities of his firm.
“We may arrest more people in the case in the coming days,” said another DRI officer.
This is the second major gold smuggling racket in two weeks. Last week the DRI had busted another smuggling racket and had seized 116kg of gold worth around Rs 32 crore and cash worth over Rs 1 crore. The gold was being smuggled from Dubai. Officers had arrested 11 people, including the mastermind, Kerala native Nisar Aliyar, who is based in Dubai.