Monday, September 20, 2021

CBI files FIR against 11, including two customs officials, in 2018 gold smuggling case

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against two customs officials for allegedly being a part of an international gold smuggling racket which was busted by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in August 2018.

The FIR by the CBI has been lodged against 11 accused, including two officers of air customs, on the basis of a vigilance report.

According to the FIR, the DRI officials had received secret information that a person identified as Ajay Verma, was attempting to smuggle about 3 kg of gold into India on his two carriers - Praveen and Pawan - from Dubai via an Indigo flight on August 13, 2018.

"It also came to knowledge that Ajay Verma would try to smuggle the gold with the help of two customs officers posted at Indira Gandhi international Airport, New Delhi. The officers were identified as Vivek Gehlout, Air Customs Officer and Navin Singh, Air Customs Superintendent," read the vigilance report of the customs department.

The DRI officials, according to the FIR, also learnt that another set of five passengers would smuggle about 14.5 kg of gold on an Emirates flight from Dubai on the same day.

"The intelligence had also suggested that clearance of the gold being carried by the passengers arriving from Dubai via an Emirates flight would be facilitated at the Indira Gandhi international airport, New Delhi by two customs officers - Vivek Gehlout and Naveen Singh," added the vigilance report.

The DRI officials, acting on intelligence inputs, kept a close watch on the passengers and both the officers. On August 13, 2018, when the suspected passengers arrived on an Indigo and Emirates flight from Dubai to New Delhi, they were caught by the officials with gold.

"Vivek Gehlot, on August 13, 2018, while he was posted at the departure side of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, he took the help of Naveen Singh, who was posted at X-Ray machine scanning at the arrival hall of airport, to facilitating seven passengers namely Pawan Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Mohammed Rehan, Shaibi, Zubaida Khatoon, Zainul Abdeen and Saqib Malik, on the instructions of smuggling operators namely Ravi Panwar, Sirajuddin, Ajay Sarma and Ajay Verma, who were arriving with foreign origin gold to smuggle the same without customs checking," added the FIR.

19/09/21 Munish Chandra Pandey/India Today

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