Income Tax dept seizes 3 kg smuggled gold at Bhubaneswar airport, one held

The passenger transporting the gold possibly got a whiff of the IT searches and did not board the flight.
The IT department carried out searches at the cargo terminal of the airport and found at least three metal boxes.
The IT department carried out searches at the cargo terminal of the airport and found at least three metal boxes.Photo | Express

BHUBANESWAR: Ahead of the elections, the Income Tax (IT) department on Thursday seized 3 kg smuggled gold valued over Rs 2 crore from the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in Bhubaneswar.

Acting on a tip-off, the department carried out searches at the cargo terminal of the airport and found out at least three metal boxes. The boxes labeled ‘valuable cargo’ gave up gold bullion biscuits worth about Rs 2.10 crore during the search.

The passenger transporting the gold possibly got a whiff of the IT searches and did not board the flight. However, IT sleuths who had collected the booking information picked him up within hours from the state capital. He has been detained.

Initial investigation revealed the detainee, a resident of Bhubaneswar, was transporting the smuggled gold to Mumbai. “IT Department has launched a thorough probe to ascertain whether the gold was being smuggled to generate cash in place of the consignment and if the money could have been used during the elections,” said the sources.

Notably, five Lok Sabha seats of Maharashtra go to polls in the first phase on April 19. IT department officials are also probing if the yellow metal was supposed to be delivered to any jeweller in the western state.

The department is also trying to trace the origin of the seized gold. Since gold smuggling attempts into the country from Myanmar, Dubai and Bangkok have been thwarted several times in the past few years, it is also being investigated if the person found to be smuggling the gold is part of an international racket, said sources.

Meanwhile, the IT department has deployed quick response teams in all districts of Odisha and air intelligence units (AIUs) in the airports of the state to check illegal movement of cash during elections.

Sources said AIUs have been deployed in BPIA, Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda and in Rourkela, Utkela, Jeypore and Berhampur airports.

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