KOCHI: As the price of gold touches new heights, smugglers are making full attempts to smuggle in gold from abroad in recent weeks. Considering the situation, the Customs and DRI have enhanced the surveillance activities across the state recently. According to sources, more than 20 smuggling cases have been detected across the state in past two weeks. A majority of cases were detected on weekends. Last Sunday alone five smuggling incidents were thwarted at CIAL. Similarly, on January 27 (Sunday), six cases in which the majority were related to gold smuggling were reported at Nedumbassery airport.
Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar said there has been an extra push from smugglers to bring in more quantity of gold considering better profits when the price of the yellow metal is high in India. “Our units in airports are alert about the situation. The intelligence gathering has been enhanced. When smugglers used to bring less than a kilo of gold before, considering better profitability, they now take additional risk and smuggle in more quantities,” he said.
A DRI officer said it is a prime time for smugglers bringing in gold from abroad. “The Air Intelligence Unit of Customs and DRI are monitoring the situation. Additional hands are being deployed at the airport and premises to detect any smuggling activities. All the baggage are thoroughly scanned by the Customs units. We are coordination with Customs units to curtail smuggling activities,” an officer with DRI said.
On Saturday, the gold price was Rs 3,445 per gram in Kochi. Since January 24, there has been a major rise in the price of the gold in Kochi. Experts claimed there will be a further rise in the price in the coming days. Considering the situation, agencies including DRI, are also monitoring jewellers and gold traders.
“It is not easy to track the movement of smugglers and gold once it crosses the port of entry. However, we check the gold jewellers and their gold sources in case any specific report is received. The officers are monitoring the situation in certain pockets in the state where the smuggled gold reaches often,” an officer said.
The gold smuggling incident is already touching new heights in the state. From April 1, 2018, to January 31, 2019, as many as 371 cases of gold smuggling were registered in Nedumbassery airport alone.
As many as 125.5 kg of gold valuing `33.8 crore has been seized from Nedumbassery airport alone.
Apart from Nedumbassery airport, as many as 192.59 kg of gold was seized from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports from April 1, 2018, to November 31, 2018. The seized gold was worth `53.24 crore and as many as 568 cases were registered.
Nine smuggling bids in a single day from Kozhikode airport
Kochi: Kozhikode Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) on Tuesday detected nine smuggling cases in which gold was attempted to be brought through Karipur airport. According to Customs officials, it is for the first time in Kerala as many as nine smuggling cases were registered from an airport on a single day. Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar said 4 kg of gold was recovered from smugglers. In all the cases, the gold was concealed in the rectum.
He said attempts are being made to track down the racketeers smuggling gold by employing carriers. Only newly launched Kannur airport is reporting a low number of smuggling incidents. Customs officers said as the flight service is low from Kannur, only two smuggling cases have been registered since it opened.