Saturday, September 17, 2016

Kolkata airport: Festive season heralds spurt in gold smuggling

Kolkata: Even as Kolkata airport officials seized 11 gold bars concealed in a trolley on Thursday, since June, the Customs department has seized 7 kg and 950 gm of gold — worth Rs 2,44,76,900 — from the NSCBI Airport.
The spurt in gold smuggling coincides with the onset of the festive season leading up to Dussehra and Diwali next month, sources said. Officials said while in the past, gold smuggling was usually carried out by well-organised gangs, airport authorities have now noticed an increasing trend of individual smugglers trying to ferry gold to Kolkata from Dubai and Bangkok.
“Our officers have started looking for individual passengers who exhibit suspicious behavior. These individuals do not carry huge amounts of gold, and are mostly women,” said Umesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Customs in Air Intelligence Unit.
“We have increased vigilance in the airport because festival season is approaching. We have the Advanced Passenger Information System in place to scrutinise the background of passengers,” said an official. The method to smuggle gold has diversified in the recent past. Smuggling gold to India through the porous Indo-Myanmar border is currently the most popular among smugglers, sources said. Last month, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had arrested 12 people and seized gold worth over Rs 18 crore from Kolkata. As many as 58 kg of gold biscuits and bars were smuggled into the country from Myanmar, said officials.
17/09/16 Sweety Kumari/Indian Express
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