Monday, October 16, 2017

43 per cent increase in gold seizure at Mumbai International Airport, Egyptian women acting as carriers

Mumbai: Gold seizure by Customs at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) Mumbai in this fiscal till September has risen by nearly 43 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.

“We had seized smuggled gold worth Rs. 7 crore during the period April 2016 and March 2017. Whereas, in this fiscal year, we have seized gold worth Rs. 10 crore during April-September 2017,” said a senior officer from Air Intelligence Unit (AIU).

Earlier, most of the gold smugglers were only Indians and Sri Lankans but, according to the AIU officer, now there is a new trend of Egyptian women acting as carriers in the gold smuggling syndicate. The kingpins behind smuggling business are using foreign nationals and women as “carriers” to avoid being easily detected.

“Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bangkok and Singapore are major supply centres for gold market. That’s why the international gold smugglers have made their den at these major locations to smuggle gold into India due to price differentiation. The smuggling of gold is directly proportional to the increase in its import duty,” added the officer.

The gold smugglers or carriers or couriers disguise themselves as genuine passengers to dodge the customs check at the international airport. But the customs officers keep tight vigil on the suspects, especially those who avoid red channels where the passengers declare their dutiable goods.

The airport staff also helps smugglers to sneak the yellow metal out of CSIA in Mumbai. “In July, we arrested one airport staff Arif Mohamed Khan (23) near the gate located at V17F and recovered 464 grams gold valued at Rs. 13.68 lakh from the battery slot of the Samsung mobile he was carrying. The mobile phone with gold bars were given to him near the aerobridge by one passenger who had arrived from Dubai,” said the officer.
16/10/17 Diwakara Sharma/Free Press Journal

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