Over 1000 kilos Gold Lying at Customs Godown
Over 70 kgs gold seized in 2017
Over 70 kilograms of smuggled gold was seized in Guwahati last year indicating an increasing trend in the illegal trade believed to be sourced from neighbouring countries. The confiscation also resulted in the arrest of 23 persons involved in the rackets.
A source in the customs office said, “Smuggled gold worth Rs 21.9 crores was seized last year at Guwahati Railway Station.”
There was only one case of recovery of gold jewellery at the Guwahati airport but it is yet to be known if the seized items were smuggled. The maximum recovery has been made from railway stations by the Government Railway Police (GRP).
The customs source revealed that most of the recovered gold was imported from Myanmar through Moreh in Manipur and Champhai in Mizoram. “Guwahati is the transit point and this explains why smugglers have to assemble at this city for transporting the items to other destinations like Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.”
A source in the GRP said that the modus operandi of the smugglers keep changing from time to time. Previously the gold used to be carried only in the luggage, but now gold biscuits and bars are carried below the seats and sometimes even in train toilets.
Smugglers also use rectum gold carriers and female private parts for smuggling gold, the source revealed.
No kingpins arrested yet
Interrogation of smugglers has failed to provide leads that could help nab the smuggling kingpins.
A senior official in the customs department was of the opinion that the smugglers were hardly aware about the source of the items and the key players in the racket.
“The smugglers have hardly come into contact with the kingpins who continue to remote control the entire illicit trade,” an official of the customs department informed.
The transporters are hired over the phone and all the instructions are given without meeting them. The illicit trade is planned and executed through a network of people in different railway stations.
The official claimed that the carriers are provided with tickets for the train journey, cellular phones and details about the destination where the gold has to be delivered.
“In many cases the arrested persons did not even know that they were smuggling gold. For every assignment the smugglers receive Rs 5,000 - Rs 15,000,” the official informed.
Over 1000 kilos gold lying at customs godown since many years
Over 1000 kilograms of seized gold has been stacked at the godown in Shillong owned by the customs department.
An official indicated that the confiscated items ought to have been auctioned many years ago as per the existing norms for such seizures.
“Only State Bank of India (SBI) is authorised to auction the smuggled gold recovered by the customs, but this has not happened since the last 5 to 6 years,” the official said, expressing the hope that the auction would soon take place.
After the approval from the customs, the state-owned bank will begin the elaborate process to auction the gold with a concession of 0.5% of the existing market rate.
It is reliably learnt that the customs has expressed dissatisfaction over SBI’s policy of selling the confiscated gold at the market rate since lesser number of buyers would be encouraged to buy the item.
- Gold Smuggling
- Customs Department
- Guwahati Railway Station
- Guwahati Plus
- G Plus