'Many from Bhutan, Nepal linked in gold smuggling case'

People from Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan linked in gold smuggling case: NIA

Searches conducted in Guwahati, Mumbai

Representative image. Credit: iStock

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday claimed to have stumbled on clues about possible involvement of persons in Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan in the gold smuggling case, which was registered following recovery of 83.621 kgs of gold bars in New Delhi railway station in August this year. 

This came to light after sleuths of NIA conducted searches at four locations in Guwahati and Sangli in Maharashtra on Thursday.

"These locations are premises related to accused persons and their handlers from where they used to give effect to the commission of crime, said the NIA. During the searches, incriminating documents and electronic devices containing details of suspicious transactions as well as of the persons involved in the instant crime, who are also having linkages abroad including Myanmar and Nepal, were seized," the NIA said in a statement.

The agency said interrogation of some of the accused has so far revealed that they had collected the gold consignment from Guwahati for its further delivery at New Delhi on the directions of their handlers who are suspected to have sourced the smuggled material from Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.

Delhi branch of NIA registered the case on September 16 after the smuggled gold bars with estimated market value of Rs. 42.89 crores at New Delhi railway station was seized from eight persons on August 28 this year. 

Sources in NIA and customs department in Assam said Northeast has emerged as the "biggest transit route" for the gold smuggled through the borders with Myanmar (Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh), Bhutan (Assam) and Nepal (North Bengal). The Chinese gold are mostly smuggled through the Indo-Myanmar borders and are transported to rest of India by trains, roads and airways. Assam police, customs and directorate of revenue intelligence had recovered huge quantity of smuggled gold mainly in Assam and Manipur.