Thursday, October 27, 2016

Two held at Indira Gandhi International Airport with 'blood diamonds'

Last week, as two men approached the green channel at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, police intercepted them. They were thoroughly frisked and their baggage subjected to minute scanning. It was then that the police noticed that one of the men held on to a power bank. It seemed to weigh a lot for a small power-supply device. When the cops probed its innards, out tumbled 493 pieces of rough diamonds.

The rocks were being smuggled in from Congo, an exporter of 8% of the world's diamonds, by a jewel merchant from Surat and a professional smuggler who had been living in Africa for 15 years now. And seeing that the stones were not Kimberly Process-certified, or documented as not having been mined in conflict zones, they could only have been blood diamonds.

After the police team led by Karan Thapar, deputy commissioner (Customs), spoiled the pair's plans, the customs department seized the 493 stones, but has not been able to estimate their total worth. However, officials said this could be the most expensive cache seized in the history of Indian customs. "The case is the first of its kind," said one of them. " A gem evaluator in Mumbai will assess the real value of these stones. We believe that once processed, each piece could cost lakhs of rupees."
27/10/16 Anvit Srivastava/The Times Of India

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