Gold smuggling at the city airport has surpassed all previous records, with seizures seeing a whopping 458 per cent rise over last year.
This has pushed up the airport customs earning to Rs1,183.58 crore, an increase of 63 per cent as compared to last financial year. The figure was Rs 727 crore in the year 2012-13, according to statistics available with airport custom department.
"This is the first time in the history that the revenue has crossed the Rs 1,000 crore mark", said APS Suri, customs commissioner at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
As per the available data, 366 kg of the yellow metal was seized in FY 13-14. The seizure was 61.66 kg the previous year, the statistics reveal.
Custom officials attributed the increase to duty and policy changes in import of gold, which has led to a spurt in smuggling activities. Smuggling syndicates earn about Rs 4-5 lakh per kilogram of gold sneaked into the country. Most of the smuggled gold is being brought in with the help of carriers, who are told about the next link only on need-to-know basis.
The airport which sees over 34 million passenger movements every year and is among the busiest airports in the continent. "Better training of our officers also helped a lot," added Suri.
Though, India is largely considered to be a drug exporter country, the increase in figures pertaining to contrabands throw up some startling figures which will force intelligence and monitoring agencies to make some serious note.
Narcotics seized at the airport during 2013-14 stands at Rs105 crore – an increase of over 110 per cent as compared to last year, when it was Rs 49.77 crore.
The number of passengers arrested in connection with gold and drug seizures stood at 187 for 2013-14. Only 94 had been arrested in the previous year.
Coffers rise at JNPT too
The development comes, days after customs at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, the largest seaport in India, claimed to have exceeded the revenue target by collecting Rs 40,225 crore, in comparison to the targeted revenue of Rs 40,000 crore