BERHAMPUR/ BHUBANESWAR: Berhampur police and Excise officials busted a gold smuggling racket with the seizure of over 2 kg of gold biscuits and Rs 1.22 crore cash on Tuesday night.Two persons, identified as Dasarath Sahukar (35) of Sangli in Maharashtra and Anand Subudhi (60) of Berhampur were also arrested in this connection.
Berhampur SP Sarvana Vivek M on Wednesday said Excise sleuths informed Baidyanathpur police that they have caught a person (Sahukar) carrying a bag full of cash during routine checking on NH-16 near Ankuli. “Sahukar had boarded a Cuttack-bound OSRTC bus at Berhampur on Tuesday night. Excise sleuths detained the bus on suspicion of smuggling of ganja. They started checking the luggage of passengers and when they approached Sahukar, he was initially reluctant to hand over his bag. When the officials opened his bag, they found bundles of cash in Rs 500 denomination,” the SP said.
Soon a police team led by SDPO Bishnu Prasad Pati rushed to the spot. On being questioned, Sahukar failed to give any satisfactory answer about the huge cash he was carrying. He was then brought to the police station.
During interrogation, Sahukar revealed that he got the money from Subudhi, owner of Anand jewellery at Berhampur, in exchange of gold. Subsequently, the jeweller was nabbed. Subudhi admitted that he had purchased 23 pieces of gold biscuits weighing around 2.2 kg from Sahukar and paid a cash of around Rs 1.22 crore. Since South Africa has been imprinted on the gold biscuits, police suspect the gold was possibly smuggled from a foreign country but the verification is still underway.
Sahukar told police that he works for a Cuttack-based jeweller but investigators are yet to confirm his claims, said the SP.“The duo failed to produce any document related to the gold. Since it’s a case of tax evasion and smuggling, we seized the cash and the gold biscuits. Police will be hand over the gold and cash to Income Tax department after proper documentation,” the SP added.
The seizure in Berhampur assumes significance as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has initiated a money laundering probe against a large scale foreign origin gold smuggling racket which is reportedly active from the Bangladesh border to many states such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
ED’s investigation has revealed that the modus operandi of the smugglers involved in the racket is that the foreign origin gold is being smuggled into the country after it is received in Myanmar from where it is transported to Bangladesh and then to West Bengal and other neighbouring States.
Sources said Berhampur police suspect the seized gold biscuits may have been smuggled from Myanmar or Nepal and further verification in this regard will be carried out by the Income Tax department.