Gold smuggling rises fourfold in 2013-14

Mumbai-India (May 12)  There has been a nearly fourfold rise in gold smuggling as 148 cases were reported and yellow metal worth about Rs 245 crore was seized by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) during 2013-14.


As many as 40 cases of gold smuggling were registered in 2012-13. The value of gold seized in these cases was about Rs 44.80 crore, according to the DRI, which acts as lead agency to check smuggling.


The seized gold was being smuggled into the country through various means-hiding it in luggage and even through false declaration of imported goods, among others.


DRI officials had arrested 464 persons during the last financial year as against 202 in 2012-13 for their involvement in gold smuggling.


Customs officials at Delhi international airport registered 363 cases of gold smuggling and seized 353 kg of the precious metal during 2013-14.


The value of the seized gold is approximately Rs 90 crore, officials said adding 123 people were arrested in these cases.


There has been a significant increase in cases of gold smuggling. Last year, hardly 20-25 kg of gold was seized here, a custom official posted at Indira Gandhi International Airport said.


Union finance minister P. Chidambaram, who has been asking people to control their passion for gold, had early this year said that about 1,000-3,000 kg of yellow metal is smuggled into the country every month.


Incidentally, gold smuggling has surpassed cases of smuggling of narcotics. DRI officials had registered 44 cases of smuggling of contraband valuing Rs 209 crore during 2013-14 compared to 36 cases of smuggling of narcotics worth Rs 194 crore in 2012-13.


The high demand of gold has been a matter of concern for the finance ministry, which is trying hard to control current account deficit (CAD), difference between the outflow and inflow of foreign currency.