VIJAYAWADA: In one of the biggest raids, Customs department officials have seized Rs 5.80 crore worth of gold and Rs 14.16 lakh silver being smuggled from Chennai to various places in Andhra Pradesh. On specific information about the activity, the officials of the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive) at Vijayawada had conducted checks at a toll plaza on the national highway and seized the gold and silver. Five persons were arrested and three cars were seized during the operation.
This is the highest ever seizure of gold reported by the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Vijayawada since its formation in 2014, Customs officials said.
According to a press release issued by the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive) - Vijayawada unit Sunday, based on specific information about the smuggling of gold bars from Chennai to Guntur and Rajamahendravaram in cars, the customs department officials formed special teams and intercepted three vehicles at Bollapalli toll plaza on Vijayawada - Chennai national highway on June 24.
"When inspected, we have found the gold was concealed in a specially built box and installed behind the seat and specially built cavity under the passenger seats in the three cars to avoid checking,'' the release said.
During the interrogation, the passengers admitted to smuggling gold in their vehicles. A search of the three cars resulted in the recovery and seizure of 10.77 KGs of gold. The total value of the gold recovered in the three cars is around Rs. 5.80 crore.
"Subsequent searches conducted in Kakinada and Rajamahendravaram led to the seizure of 24 kilos of silver bars with foreign markings," the Customs officials said. A case has been registered against five persons under the Customs Act 1962 and they were remanded to judicial custody.
"The seizure shows that we are at the forefront of combating the smuggling activities with a focus on developing intelligence and increased vigilance,'' the department said adding that further investigation is going on.