Gold Smugglers Now Colluding with Gadget Makers
KOZHIKODE: Gold smuggling rackets based in Kerala appear to be colluding with factory units in Dubai for customised production of electrical and electronic gadgets by concealing the yellow metal in various shapes inside them.
It was following the seizure of 17.5 kg contraband gold from Calicut International Airport, Karipur - the biggest ever haul in the airport’s history - a week ago that the DRI sleuths got the wind of a possible tacit understanding between smugglers and factory units for bulk production of electrical goods.
The haul of 55 kg of contraband gold at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Monday has further bolstered DRI’s theory.
“The way in which the gold was concealed inside the electronic and electrical equipment in both cases was quite similar. Smugglers seem to have an arrangement with factory units wherein the latter conceals any quantity of gold inside various gadgets and makes them fit enough to be transported via cargo or courier service,” a DRI official said. In the seizure at Delhi, gold biscuits were concealed inside transformers, hot plates and LED lights. The gold, which was smuggled from Abu Dhabi allegedly by a group of Keralites, was seized by a team led by John Joseph, Additional Director General, DRI (Hqrs). Valued at Rs 15 crore in the market, the gold hidden inside electronic equipment, was sent through a courier.
Meanwhile, in Karipur, the contraband gold was hidden in the form of biscuits, cut bars and rods inside a step-up inverter, dumbbells, stapler - office type, meat cutting machine, battery, transformer, induction cooker, transformer coil, push-up bars, an electric hot plate, meat cutter, plastic cover sealing equipment and a torch. There were 90 gold biscuits, each weighing 116 gm and the rest of the contraband were in the form of cut bars and rods. The yellow metal was kept inside the baggage meant for a Malappuram native in the cargo of a private airliner.
DRI officials are now looking if there is any link between smugglers other than the fact that accused in both cases are Keralites. On interrogation of the accused in the Karipur case, officials received specific clues that hawala groups-turned-gold smugglers based at Thamarassery and Perinthalmanna are behind the illegal import. Officials believe that the seizures would be just the tip of the iceberg as hundreds of kilograms of gold might have been smuggled through this modus operandi. For the smugglers, it enables them to bring a greater quantity of gold at minimal risk.