KOCHI: Nine persons were arrested after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) Kochi busted a Malappuram-based gold smuggling racket, seizing 9.75 kg of gold worth Rs 4.75 crore. The DRI operation, which began on Sunday and lasted till Monday morning, also saw the agency unearthing Rs 62.5 lakh from various parts of Malappuram, officials said.
All the arrested persons are natives of Malappuram. They are key operator Fasalu Rahman, his accomplices Muhammed Musthafa and Mohammed Shihabudheen, melting unit operators Mohammed Ashraf, Ashique Ali and Veerankutty, gold dealer Alavi and gold carriers Ismael Faisal and Pothan Unaise, who were intercepted at the Kozhikode and Kochi airports respectively on Sunday night.
The search conducted at the gold melting unit operated at Kavanoor, Malappuram, resulted in the recovery of 5.8 kg of gold valued at Rs 2.90 crore. The raid held at the residence of the main operator Fasalu Rahman located at Eliyaparambu, Kavanur, in Malappuram district resulted in the seizure of 850 grams of gold valued at Rs 42 lakh as well as Rs 1 lakh rupees in cash. Based on the leads received during the search, gold paste concealed in the rectum was recovered from one passenger each arriving at the Kochi and Kozhikode airports, the DRI said in a press statement
According to DRI sources, around 633 grams of gold valued at Rs 31 lakh was seized from the passenger Ismael Faisal who arrived at the Kochi international airport from Jeddah via Kuwait Airlines flight on Sunday evening. Similarly, 850 grams of gold valued at Rs 42 lakh was seized from the passenger Pothan Unaise who arrived at Kozhikode international airport from Riyadh via Air India Express flight on Sunday evening.
"The search conducted at the residence of the smuggled gold dealer Alavi located at Vellila resulted in the seizure of 1.5 kg of gold valued at Rs 75 lakh and Rs 62 lakh in cash.
All nine persons were produced before a lower court which remanded them to Quilandy jail for 14 days. "It is revealed that that the gang is active in gold smuggling for the past couple of years. We have to identify people associated with the gang operating abroad. The gang arranges to procure gold before melting and processing it into various forms including paste to smuggle it to India. The gold smuggled through carriers after reaching Kerala is processed at melting units to turn it into gold bars before supplying them to jewellery shops. The investigation is on and more persons have to be traced and arrested," an officer said.