Holiday effect: Sharp drop in gold smuggling cases at Mumbai airport
Mumbai city news: The officials attributed this decrease to holidays and marginal difference in gold pricesmumbai Updated: Jun 29, 2017 23:35 IST
This holiday season, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport saw fewer cases of gold smuggling owing to costly flight tickets and marginal difference in gold prices between foreign countries and India, said Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials.
“On an average, gold seizures in a month come down to 35 kgs. These reduced to 25 kgs in the past two months,” said a senior official, AIU.
The officials attributed this decrease to holidays and marginal difference in gold prices. “The carriers which are hired to smuggle drugs rely on instant bookings but during vacations flight tickets are expensive, which is a demotivates smugglers,” said another senior AIU official. Also, flyers arriving from Dubai, Bangkok and Sri Lanka are being closely watched.
However, the AIU officials said the cases will see a rise as holidays will soon be over. “With the onset of festive season the cases will increase. During Diwali there will be a lot of demand for gold in the country which smugglers would want to cash-in on,” said the official.
Although several cases have been reported at many ports in the country, the air route is still preferred for smuggling. “Since it takes a month to smuggle gold via sea route, appointing carriers is still preferred,” said the official. “Gold prices are increasing gradually and so smugglers want to quickly deliver gold, which is possible by air.”
AIU has stepped up the vigil after four passengers who had flown in from Saudi Arabia were arrested for allegedly smuggling gold worth Rs29 lakh.
The last time the amount of gold seized at the Mumbai airport plummeted was at the end of 2016, owing to demonetisation. The cash crunch in the country had a direct impact on the smuggling module. However, the effect started to gradually wear off when the new currency was regulated.