Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Arrests, seizures fail to have impact; gold smuggling attempts continue unabated in Cochin International Airport

Kochi: Despite plugging the loopholes in tackling gold smuggling through the Cochin International Airport, attempts to smuggle the yellow metal via the airport continues.

In the past one-and-half months, gold worth over Rs 4.5 crore has been seized from the airport. Even on Tuesday, a day after Customs sleuths foiled four back-to-back gold smuggling attempts at CIAL, two more gold smuggling attempts were made which, too, met the same fate as the previous day's instances.

Experts in the jewellery trade said even after the Centre rolled out GST and tightened the noose around illegal traders, the jewellery market was yet to toe the line of authorities in the state, which still follows the 'number two' gold trade in a big way. Until illegal practices in the industry are controlled, the smuggling activities will continue to grow, the experts said.

"The seizure made by Customs officers are only a tip of the iceberg,” said a representative of a famed jewellers' body in the state.

“Under normal circumstances, when a person is arrested with a relativity small consignment of gold, a big consignment would have been moved through the green channel of enforcement agencies without much hassle. This is why the trade continues unabated despite repeated arrests and seizures by Customs officers every day.”

S Abdul Nazer, coordinator of Kerala Jewellers Association Coordination Committee, said if the Centre really intends to curb gold smuggling, they should reduce the Customs duty charged on gold at airports.The present Customs duty is 10 per cent.
25/10/17 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express