If the data compiled by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is to be believed, gold smuggling has spiralled in the past couple of years.
The DRI, which is mandated to keep a check on smuggling, in its latest compilation of records claims that during 2010-11 the share of narcotics among all the smuggled goods was 11% and that of gold was nil.
However, 2011-12 was a turning period as the Centre increased the import duties on gold. As a result of this hike, gold smuggling increased and its share among all the smuggled goods was 3 per cent during that year.
DRI officials said that the trend continued in 2012-13 and the share of gold seizure increased to 8 per cent. Interestingly, during the same time, share of seized narcotics slipped to 8 per cent, the data revealed.
The officials revealed that the gold smuggling syndicate has started imitating narcotics smugglers.
Passengers on many occasions have been found carrying gold concealed it parts of their body, including the rectum.
In fact, the DRI has asked the airlines to keep a tab on their employees because on a few occasions they have been found to be aiding gold smugglers.
“Our focus is also now on gold as its smuggling is increasing by leaps and bounds,” said a DRI official.
On December 28, when Mirza Yasir Hussain alighted from a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok, he looked nervous. He frequently tried to cover his copper-coated belt buckle under his shirt. The vigilant Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials of airport customs took him aside. On scratching the buckle, they found its copper colour peeling off and the yellow shine of the gold was exposed. On investigating, it was found that his bag handle which was silver-coated also had gold underneath it, officials said.
On the same day, another passenger, who landed from Dubai, was apprehended with five gold bars valued at over Rs15 lakh. He concealed them in his rectum.