Gold worth Rs 1.10cr goes missing from Customs custody

Gold worth Rs 1.10 crore goes missing from Customs custody

Before lodging the case, the department had conducted an internal inquiry for four years

The gold belonged to the Bhuj Customs division and was kept at the Jamnagar office after the 2001 earthquake. Credit: AFP

Gold articles worth Rs 1.10 crore are said to have gone "missing" from the custody of the Customs department in Jamnagar. The matter came to light on Thursday after the department registered an FIR against unidentified staffers.

Before lodging the case, the department had conducted an internal inquiry for four years. But despite the probe, no trace of missing gold was found.

Jamnagar Superintendent of Police Deepan Bhadran confirmed to DH that the FIR has been registered. "The missing gold was part of the seized articles from 1972 to mid-1990s. We registered the FIR on Thursday and have started an investigation," he said.

The FIR has been filed under section-409 of Indian Penal Code (criminal breach of trust by public servant) on the complaint submitted by Customs Inspector Ram Singh Yadav against unidentified persons at Jamnagar, division 'B' police station.

The FIR states that the missing gold articles belonged to Bhuj Customs division which was transferred to Jamnagar after the latter's office got damaged in the 2001 earthquake.

There was a total of 3,149.398 grams of gold at that time. In 2016, Bhuj division took back the gold when it was revealed that 2,156.722 gram of gold, worth Rs 1.10 crore, was missing. This prompted the authority to set up an internal investigation but couldn't find the culprits.

Interestingly, the precious metals were locked in suitcases whose keys were also found to be missing.

The officials had to break the locks back in 2016 to check them. According to the FIR, the missing gold articles had been seized in different operations in a crackdown on gold smuggling between 1982 and 1986.

"It is quite difficult to trace the culprits as so many people must have been posted and transferred, besides their retirement, during this period," said a policeman familiar with the case.