KOCHI: In a major crackdown, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Tuesday seized 14.7 kg of gold from a baggage that arrived at Kochi port. Even though gold seizure from airports is common in Kerala, it was after years of gap that gold was seized from a sea port in state.According to DRI officers, following the seizure, searches were carried out in various locations in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts. The seized gold is valued at Rs 7.2 crore which is the highest one this year.
“A Malappuram native booked and sent the shipping cargo from Dubai. The gold was cleverly concealed inside a refrigerator. There were more than 120 gold biscuits. The person who sent the cargo reached Kerala in a flight a few weeks ago. The ship arrived last week. He was in Kochi to receive the cargo. We have taken him into custody and interrogation is on. We are also conducting searches at his residences and places named by him during the interrogation,” sources said.
DRI suspect that the gang involved in gold smuggling had used the sea route earlier. “With gold being seized at airports frequently, the gang switched to ship cargo route. We suspect that they had carried out smuggling in a similar manner before. It is also being investigated whether any Customs officials is involved.
There will be more arrests soon,” sources said. After seizure of gold sent through diplomatic channel in Thiruvananthapuram airport last year, this would be largest seizure of smuggled gold in recent times. The accused will be produced before Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court on Wednesday.