MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs officials seized gold bars and biscuits weighing approximately 3.5 kilograms from Trivandrum International Airport in Southern India. The gold seized in two separate incidents is worth nearly Rs 1 Crores (10 million rupees or roughly $165,000). The gold seizures are reported to have taken place during Tuesday night.
In the first incident, two gold bars and ten gold biscuits were found hidden in the garbage bin inside the toilet of a flight which landed from Muscat, en route to Bangalore. According to DRI officials, the gold might have been carried by some passenger from Muscat. The gold would have been intentionally kept at the flight toilet so that some other passenger travelling in the domestic sector could smuggle it out of the Bangalore Airport.
The gold bars weighed one kilogram each and the biscuits weighed 100 grams each, DRI officials said. DRI officials had conducted thorough check inside the flight following intelligence information. However, no information about gold carriers could be obtained.
In the second incident, Customs officials seized two gold chains weighing nearly half kilogram was seized from a passenger who had arrived at the airport from Dubai. The gold was found concealed in his undergarment. The passenger was detained for further questioning.
According to figures released by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), a total of 2,419 incidents of gold seizures were reported during the fiscal 2013-‘14. The value of seized gold during the period totaled Rs 678 crores ($111.7 million). The seizure of smuggled gold has multiplied nearly seven times when compared with Rs 94 crores worth gold seized in 919 cases during the previous fiscal year. With tight gold import curbs in place, smuggling has witnessed sudden spike during 2013-’14, noted CBEC.
Meanwhile, Indian Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters today that there is no immediate plan to cut high gold import duty. It could not be said that gold smuggling has increased because of hike in import duty, she added.