Contraband gold weighing 22.97-kg seized in 6 months

Contraband gold weighing 22.97-kg seized in 6 months

The vigilance of customs officers, their alertness and effective coordination with other stakeholders, mainly airlines security and immigration resulted in the seizure of contraband gold weighing 22.97 kgs worth Rs 7.06 crore from January till date.

In the corresponding period last year, the customs had seized gold worth Rs 2.28 crore. Totally 40 cases were registered against passengers for various contraventions, said Commissioner Dr M Subramanyam.

Several new modus operandi was unravelled with 12.59 kgs of gold valued at Rs 3.86 crore being seized from smugglers who had concealed gold in the form of foils in between layers of paper cardboard cartons, chess and ludo playboards, cardboard of crockery sets, or inside lining of trolley bag covers.

Rhodium or silver-coated gold was found inside electronic goods such as a nebulizer, emergency light, trimmer, motors of salad making machine, food processors, the transformer of radio. Contraband was detected in refills of pens, buckles, buttons, ladies inner garments, as silver coloured beads on burkas, zip sliders of bags, inside pencil sharpners, mobile chargers, mouth organ etc, said the commissioner.

In the initial months of 2018, gold was found concealed in footwear, buckles, chocolate wrappers, paste/gum, wires in support strips of trolley bags, face creams, perfume boxes, etc. Also, there were 8 cases of concealment of gold in the rectum during the period.

Different methods were adopted, but gold was retrieved by the officers without much difficulty. In a recent case, a passenger from Muzzafarnagar in UP had concealed 4 gold bars inside two steel and bronze shutter locks. The officers had to use electric metal cutter to cut open the locks to retrieve the gold.

In five instances, 6.373 kgs of gold bars worth Rs 1.98 crore were found concealed in different locations inside domestic aircrafts that had undertaken foreign voyage followed by a domestic run to Mangaluru. Also, 4 kg gold was concealed in the lavatory of an aircraft that had arrived from Dubai and was bound to depart to Mumbai.

In addition to these seizures of concealed gold during this year, the officers have also registered 10 cases against passengers who attempted to smuggle foreign currency notes equivalent to Rs.69.24 lakh which was procured illicitly and attempted to be smuggled out of the country.

It is noted that majority of the passengers intercepted hailed from Bhatkal(Karnataka) and Kasargod(Kerala) and were arriving from/departing to the Middle East countries.

In view of the seriousness of the offence committed, three passengers were arrested this year, said the Commissioner.

Due to the ever-changing modus operandi, the officers are adopting several innovative measures/methods, including advanced passenger information system, feedback from other intelligence agencies and field formations, gathering actionable clues from various sources, monitoring the movement of the passengers and effective constant coordination with other stakeholders, mainly alert and vigilant airlines security staff etc.

During the period from January to June 2018, a total of 2,00,419 passengers i.e 97.81% of the total passengers had opted for green channel and customs duties of Rs 3.12 crore was collected from 4,480 passengers. Also, the department has installed new advanced equipments to improve facilitation without causing inconvenience to passengers, said the officer.