INDIA.Mumbai: In a spectacular bust of the Myanmar-India gold smuggling network, the Delhi Zonal Unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 55.61 kg of foreign-origin gold valued at Rs. 28 crores from eight persons at two locations-Delhi and Lucknow(Uttar Pradesh) on Thursday.
The DRI had gathered specific information about the smuggling of a huge quantity of foreign origin gold from Myanmar into India through the Indo-Myanmar border which was being sent to different parts of the country. The spurt in economic activity was seen after the lifting of COVID-19 related lockdowns, combined with the pent-up demand for gold, which coincided with a surge in smuggling activities. The blocking of air routes during the lockdown period also saw a significant shift in the modus operandi of smugglers from the air route to the land route through the Indo-Myanmar border.
Keeping vigil over these routes to thwart large-scale smuggling efforts, the officers of DRI had made a series of gold seizures in the past six months. These included the seizure of 51.33 kg of smuggled gold in November 2020 by the DRI Guwahati Zonal Unit, seizureof 84 kg and 66 kg of smuggled gold in August and November 2020, respectively, by the DRI Zonal Unit, and the present seizure of 55.61 kg of gold by the Delhi Zonal Unit, being the latest in the series.
Due to the intensive counter-smuggling efforts by DRI, the smugglers shifted from their preferred mode of vehicle concealment to in-person concealment. However, in the latest operation, codenamed “Golden Triangle”, which was a coordinated effort by the DRI officers of Delhi Zonal Unit and Lucknow Zonal Unit, the mode of human concealment was busted where the carriers were found to be concealing the gold bars in belts worn around their waists. Five such passengers were intercepted by officers of DRI, Delhi Zonal Unit near Delhi, and three passengers were intercepted by the officers of DRI, Lucknow Zonal Unit at Lucknow. The search of the persons resulted in the recovery and seizure of 335 gold bars, weighing 55.61 kg. The 8 accused have been arrested and further investigations are underway.
The Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur visited the office of DRI, Delhi Zonal Unit, and congratulated DRI officers for the successful seizure. Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) M Ajit Kumar and Principal Director General of DRI Balesh Kumar were also present. Thakur appreciated the efforts made by the officers and encouraged them to effect even bigger seizures in the future.