Ahmedabad Gold Smuggling News

Gold smuggling: Volume up by 37% in Ahd
Times of India | 19 hours ago | |
Times of India
19 hours ago | |

AHMEDABAD: A rising number of gold smuggling cases have been detected at the Ahmedabad airport, and at airports across the country, ever since the basic customs duty on gold went up. At the Ahmedabad airport alone, seizures of smuggled gold have spiked by 37.5% merely eight months into FY 2023 as compared to FY 2022, suggests the data released by the Ahmedabad customs commissionerate. From March to November 2022, 30 persons have been arrested at the Ahmedabad airport in connection with gold smuggling. About 40kg of gold was seized in FY 2022 and the figure shot up to 55kg in the current fiscal. Effective July 1 this year, gold started attracting a basic customs duty of 12.5% in addition to the 2.5% agriculture cess. Over and above this, 3% GST is also applicable on gold purchases, taking the effective duties and taxes on gold to 18%. On Wednesday, the gold price stood at Rs 54,400 per 10 gram in the Ahmedabad market. Therefore, for every kilogram of gold smuggled, the smuggler makes a profit of Rs 9.7 lakh, excluding costs paid to couriers. “Due to the geopolitical uncertainty and economic instability, yellow metal prices are already high. With the Indian currency depreciating past the 81-mark, the effective price of gold in the Indian market is even higher after adding duties,” said Haresh Acharya, director, India Bullion and Jewellers’ Association. Acharya added: “Therefore, the procurement of gold through unofficial channels is increasingly taking place here to save duties.” In fact, IBJA has already sent a representation to the Union finance ministry, seeking to abolish the basic customs duty on gold and instead hiking the GST to 15%. “In that situation, smugglers will not get any incentive to procure gold from other countries. A level-playing field will be created for gold industry players, as unofficial procurements will stop,” said a senior IBJA official. “At the same time, the exchequer will not lose revenue. It will also make the gold market more organized.”

Gold smuggling: Volume up by 37% in Ahd
  • 18kg smuggled gold seized in Ahm, 5 held
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Just ahead of the assembly elections in Gujrat, some five passengers arriving from Sharjah at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad were arrested on Tuesday by the air intelligence unit of the Customs Commissionerate, Ahmedabad, for smuggling gold. Some 18.34kg of gold was recovered and seized by the Customs department officials. Gold price stood at Rs 54,500 per 10 gram in the Ahmedabad market. Accordingly, the seized gold is estimated to be worth Rs 10 crore in the local markets here. The duo was among the five passengers who were intercepted by the customs officials, based on passenger profiling carried out using scientific tools. Two of the five were found to be carrying gold concealed in paste form in a waist belt. Officers of the air intelligence unit at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad said, "Gold was concealed in the form of paste and kept in pockets of a specially designed belt the passengers wore around their waist. The duo claimed they were wearing a specific belt for relief from backache". The gold was confiscated by the Customs department officials under section 111 and section 11(3) of the Customs Act, 1962. "Upon interrogation, the remaining three passengers admitted active involvement in smuggling gold with these two passengers," said a Customs official. Offence has been registered against all five passengers under Section 132 and Section 135 of the Customs Act 1962. All have been arrested and produced before the court. Of late, Ahmedabad Customs has been increasingly unearthing cases of gold smuggling in huge quantities. Gold smuggling has particularly increased over the past 8-10 months as the basic customs duty on gold has been increased by the Union Finance Ministry as a result of which gold price is higher in India. “Lately, due to geopolitical uncertainty and economic instability, yellow metal prices are already high. With the Indian currency depreciating past the 81-mark, the effective price of gold in the Indian market is even higher after adding duties. Therefore, procurement of gold through unofficial channels is increasingly taking place here to save duties,” said Haresh Acharya, director, India Bullion, and Jewellers’ Association.

Kingpins of duty-free gold smuggling held
Ahmedabad Mirror | 2 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
2 months ago | |

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) earlier this week apprehended two masterminds of the gold smuggling racket being operated from the duty-free shop in the international terminal of SVP International Airport in Ahmedabad.Both accused were produced in court in Ahmedabad on Thursday and sent to judicial custody.This is the first major breakthrough in the racket that saw the DRI seizing 8 kg gold worth Rs 4.21 crore on July 24 from a carrier who was about to pass it on to an airport employee manning the counter of the duty-free shop, located between the Immigration and Customs counters at the international terminal T-2 of Ahmedabad airport.Mirror had reported on August 11 that DRI believed the quantum of gold smuggled by the syndicate could be as much as 160 kg in 15-20 flights over the past several months before the racket was busted.The duty-free shop employee and the carrier were the only two accused arrested in the case so far. However, the Ahmedabad unit of the DRI, who were on the look out for the masterminds, based in Dubai, finally apprehended them based on intelligence inputs as they travelled from Sharjah to Surat last week. The arrest came a month after the racket was busted.Sources said that both the accused confessed during interrogation that they planned and executed the gold smuggling racket in connivance with the employee of the duty-free shop and staff of the SVPI airport by arranging the logistics by way of carrier passengers and sending the smuggled gold in the black market.The modus operandi entailed the carrier (passenger) chosen by the syndicate handing over the smuggled gold to the duty-free employee. The employee would carry the contraband out of the airport by concealing it and hand it to local accomplices who spirited it away.

Kingpins of duty-free gold smuggling held
210 kg gold smuggled through int’l airport in two rackets, only 12 kg seized
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 months ago | |

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on the intervening night of August 5-6 arrested an international passenger on a Fly Dubai flight attempting to smuggle in 1.075 kg gold worth Rs 60 lakh in his rectum and underwear, while the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Customs on August 7 busted another passenger attempting the same. This is just the tip of the iceberg.Mirror has now learnt that two gangs of organised gold smuggling racketeers had earlier this year managed to smuggle 210 kg of gold with the help of airport employees at the international terminal (T2) of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad.The racket busted on July 11 involved illegal gold changing hands inside the VIP lounge that is located before the immigration counter and then taken out of the terminal through a door connecting it with the departure area. A terminal manager and three sweepers of T2 among others were accused in this case for ferrying the undeclared gold out of the airport. DRI had seized 3.85 kg gold worth Rs 2.02 crore in this case.The second racket, busted on July 24, involved gold carriers passing on the illicit gold to an employee manning the counter of the duty-free shop, located between the immigration and Customs counters at the international terminal. The duty-free shop employee is accused of being the middleman enabling duty evasion by carrying the gold out of the terminal using his access card. DRI seized 8 kg gold worth Rs 4.21 crore in this case.Heavy smugglingthis yearSources revealed that a total of 210 kg gold was smuggled over several months this year, with 50 kg gold passing through the VIP lounge and 160 kg gold passing through the duty-free shop, right under the noses of a number of security and vigilance agencies at the international airport.During investigation, the accused in the VIP lounge smuggling case had revealed they had managed to conduct at least 13 landings of illicit gold before being busted by the DRI. Assuming that at least a similar amount of gold (3.85 kg) was smuggled each time, the total falls to 50 kg gold.However, the racket that was being run from the duty-free shop was much bigger, said sources. Accused have allegedly revealed that there has been about 15-20 landings of smuggled gold facilitated before the DRI busted their modus operandi. At 8 kg per flight, the quantum of smuggled gold being investigated in this case is assumed to exceed 110 kg.Investigation is currently underway into how many carriers were involved in gold smuggling for these two different operations, who ran these rackets possibly from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).The Customs duty on imported gold was raised on July 1 from 7.5% to 12.5%. However, since imported gold also attracts 2.5% Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess, this took the total applicable import duty rate on gold into India to 15%.From where gold was smuggledVIP lounge gatewaySeized gold: 3.85 kgAmount: Rs2.02 croreTotal landings: 13 flightsTotal Gold: 50 kgDuty-free shopSeized gold: 8 kgAmount: Rs 4.21 croreTotal landings: ~20 flightsTotal gold: 160 kg

210 kg gold smuggled through int’l airport in two rackets, only 12 kg seized
Customs tightens airport vigilance to plug loopholes
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 months ago | |

Even as airport employees have been accused of involvement in organised gold smuggling rackets at the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport, it is the short-staffed Customs department and its Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) that has borne the brunt for lack of vigilance that allowed hundreds of kilograms of gold to be sneaked into India without payment of customs duty.However, in the aftermath of two organised gold smuggling rackets being busted by the DRI on July 11 and 24 this year, security has been tightened on arrival at the international terminal (T2).Mirror has learnt that while airport employees with access could go in and out of the terminal without restrictions, the new measures put in place mandate that only those on the duty roster at any given time, and with authorisation from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) would be given access to the terminal.Earlier, checking of regular airport staff was intermittent, while now all employees will be subjected to frisking and have to compulsorily gain access only through the Door Metal Frame Detector (DFMD) to make sure that no illicit material is smuggled out of the terminal.The Customs department has also begun profiling all personnel posted in sensitive and critical areas for vetting and checks will be conducted regularly.In the first racket busted on July 11, the gold was smuggled out through the VIP lounge which has a door connecting the departure and arrivals halls of T2. This door has now been designated restricted access for only Customs and Immigration officers.In cooperation with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that handles all security at the airport, the Customs department has sought and received live feed of CCTV cameras in the international terminal at their own control room.Persons allowed into the arrival hall to welcome dignitaries without diplomatic immunity will not be allowed to step beyond the conveyor belt area, said sources.The Customs staff at the airport has been short-staffed since the pandemic. With general transfers imminent by mid-August, there is likely to be an increase in personnel and rise in night duty staff.Customs officials, who currently have restricted access across sensitive areas of the airport, are likely to seek more wide-ranging access from the BCAS to make sure “at least airport employees are not involved in smuggling activities”.

Customs tightens airport vigilance to plug loopholes
Passenger, Duty Free shop staffer held with 8 kg of gold bars
Ahmedabad Mirror | 4 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
4 months ago | |

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Sunday apprehended a drug smuggler attempting to illegally sneak in 8 kg of gold worth Rs 4.21 crore into India from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad.According to sources, the carrier/mule who transported the gold from Dubai to Ahmedabad was about to hand it over to a staffer at the Duty Free shop and exit the airport without paying Customs duty.With the two men’s arrest, DRI officials claim to have busted a separate gold smuggling ring weeks after dismantling another that had been smuggling gold into the country through the VIP lounge of the airport in Ahmedabad.DRI had developed intelligence that foreign origin gold would be entering the country and accordingly, the male passenger who reached Ahmedabad aboard the Emirates EK540 flight on Sunday was detained and checked. They found 8 bars of gold weighing 1 kg each on his person.On interrogation, he allegedly revealed that he was supposed to hand the consignment to the staff member at the duty free shop which is located after the immigration counter but before the Customs desk. He would have then exited the international terminal by walking out of the green channel with declaring anything.Officials said that the staffer had admitted to being involved in gold smuggling and had received such consignments in the past also.

Passenger, Duty Free shop staffer held with 8 kg of gold bars
How smugglers used intl airport lounge to sneak in Rs 2 cr of gold
Ahmedabad Mirror | 4 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
4 months ago | |

At least four employees of SVP International Airport including a terminal manager of T2 were booked by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for attempting to smuggle in Rs 2.02 crore of gold into India from Dubai. Two passengers carrying the illicit gold were also arrested under sections of the Customs Act.Investigators suspect that the terminal manager, who works for the Airport Authority of India (AAI), and the three contractual cleaners, are all part of a gold smuggling ringand have previously aided in smuggling gold into the country by hiding it before the mules (illegal couriers) reach the immigration counter.The modus operandi of the smugglers in this case is akin to a similar racket from Dubai that was busted at Ahmedabad airport, which turned out to be the largest gold smuggling operation busted in India.Sources said that vigilance gaps still exist at the international airport three years after the Customs department in July 2019 busted a case of 4,000 kg gold being smuggled into India through Ahmedabad airport over the course of five years through an aero-bridge with the aid of airport employees.However, in this case, sources told Mirror that the smugglers didn’t use the blind spot on the aero-bridge, but the VIP lounge just after exiting it.The mules would carry the gold bars in the hand baggage and reach India from Dubai.Upon landing at Ahmedabad international airport, they would exit the aircraft by the aero-bridge on the first floor of the airport and then climb down the flight of stairs to the ground floor. There, just before the immigration counter, there is a VIP lounge. They would first head there and allegedly hand over the gold to the airport employees involved in the smuggling ring in or near the passenger lounge before heading over to the immigration counter and walking out of the green channel.Mirror has learnt that the VIP lounge area has a door connecting the departure and arrival areas of the international terminal. This can only be used by airport staff with unrestricted access.The airport employees allegedly accused of being part of the racket would then carry the bags out of the airport at their convenience and deliver the smuggled gold either to the carriers or those taking delivery of the illicit precious metal.How the operation was bustedA statement on Monday stated that the Ahmedabad Zonal Unit of DRI developed intelligence that two passengers landing at Ahmedabad airport from Dubai would be carrying gold meant to be smuggled into India. The gold would be handed over to airport employees before reaching the immigration counter.On July 9, DRI officials intercepted the two passengers and checked their check-in baggage and hand luggage. They found 33 gold bars weighing 3,849.120 gm (3.85 kg). With a market value of Rs 52,650 per 10 gm, the total value of the consignment stood at Rs 2.02 crore.The Customs duty that would have been possibly evaded was Rs 46,741 per 10 gm, which stood at Rs 1.79 crore.Sources said that during interrogation, DRI learnt the names of the four people at the airport involved in the racket. Both passengers are male and Indian citizens. All six men have been remanded to judicial custody by the court.Customs working on skeletal Covid staffWhile the blame for smugglers evading Customs duty on goods like gold or being able to smuggle in narcotics falls on Customs officials, Mirror has learnt that the officers deployed at T2 are fewer than those deployed before the pandemic struck.Earlier, there were 50 personnel and officers posted at the international terminal, which were reduced to 29 by redeploying them to other areas as fewer flights were operating from the airport due to Covid, said sources. However, even as normal flights have resumed, the Customs is working on the same number of reduced staff.

How smugglers used intl airport lounge to sneak in Rs 2 cr of gold
‘Do what you can’, Swapna tells Vijayan; vows to bring out truth
Ahmedabad Mirror | 4 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
4 months ago | |

The prime accused in the gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh on Thursday slammed the probe officials of the Crime Branch of Kerala police, saying she will bring out the truth in all the things she has said against Veena Vijayan, the daughter of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.”Just the other day, I presented myself before the Crime Branch police probing the conspiracy case registered against me. They were saying that the 164(5) statement she recorded before a magistrate has no powers. They wanted me to see I change my present lawyer, then they wanted me to tell them the details that I have about the business dealings of Veena. They also wanted to know all the details that I gave in my statements under 164,” said Swapna to the media here on Thursday.”The Chief Minister has ensured I lost my job. The NGO I was working for has terminated me because the lady staff members working there are frequently being called by the police. I can understand their plight, so I decided to leave. So he (Vijayan) should be happy that I have no job and my income has stopped,” added Swapna.”Let him do what he (Vijayan) can, I will bring out everything what has happened from 2016 to 2020. If I have life in me, everything will be brought to light. I will fight till my last breath for this. I have been harassed in the name of the conspiracy probe. The probe officials said I will be made an accused in the 770 cases registered in the case following the protests that took place after I made my revelation in June. Let them make me an accused, I will not go back as I have everything to prove what I have said. They also wanted me to tell them where I have kept all the documents,” added Swapna.She went on to add that the Crime Branch police officials asked her if Veena can’t do any business. “Have I ever said anything like that, she can’t do business? Vijayan is concerned only about his daughter, but I will surely prove everything about her,” said a stern Swapna.Things have gone from bad to worse for Vijayan ever since Swapna made a confession to the magistrate in the first week of June, where she alleged that Vijayan, his wife and Veena indulged in smuggling of currency and gold through the diplomatic channel.Following this the Congress led UDF and the BJP went hammer and tongs against Vijayan and demanded his resignation and then to face a probe.When the opposition is in a mood to target Vijayan, their demand for an adjournment motion to discuss this was allowed by Vijayan in the Kerala Assembly last week, but he did not answer any of the questions that the opposition had raised in the motion.The CPI-M, meanwhile, has decided to hold state wide meetings and vehicle rallies to point out that Vijayan’s hands are clean and these are all baseless allegations made by an accused in the gold smuggling case.

‘Do what you can’, Swapna tells Vijayan; vows to bring out truth
Police to file complaint against passenger in airport gold loot case
Ahmedabad Mirror | 4 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
4 months ago | |

In the latest development in the gold robbery case at the Ahmedabad airport, police are all set to register a complaint against the complainant himself as he failed to produce bills of the gold he brought from abroad.Mohammed Faisal, a passenger arriving from Riyadh, had lodged a complaint at the airport police station on June 7 claiming that some unidentified persons in guise of Customs officials had robbed him of 100 gm gold and cash. After the arrest of the seven persons in the case, including employees of Namaste G which is the parking contractor company at the airport, the complainant himself has come under suspicion for his possible involvement in a gold smuggling racket.Faizal was received Ahmedabad International Airport by his friend Abdul Ahad early in the morning on June 7. As they were about to board the rickshaw, unidentified persons identified themselves as the Customs officers, robbed them in the rickshaw parking lot.According to Airport police station PI R R Desai, “After the incident, Faizal moved an application alleging that he was robbed of eight gold biscuits. In the preliminary investigation, a person named Hrithik Rathore was identified in the CCTV footage. He was working in Namaste G agency. After the due investigation, the airport police arrested a total of seven people, including six men from Namaste-G agency.”“Faizal, on the other hand, mentioned in the FIR lodged at the airport police station that only one gold biscuit was robbed from him. But airport police have recovered a total of 552 gm of gold from the accused. As the quantity of gold mentioned by the complainant are different, we have asked him to submit bills for the gold biscuits,” the cop said.Meanwhile, Faizal is untraceable after filing the FIR, and he has neither submitted the bills for gold biscuits nor appeared in person. Airport police sources said it could not be ruled out that Faizal was involved in the gold smuggling racket.Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone 4 Mukesh Patel said, “For the last several days, we have been busy with security arrangements for Rath Yatra. The complainant hasn’tsubmitted bills for the gold. Wewill now file a case against Faizalas well.

Police to file complaint against passenger in airport gold loot case
Case of stolen gold, smuggling or connivance?
Ahmedabad Mirror | 5 months ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
5 months ago | |

The case of a foreign traveller who was robbed by people posing as Customs officers at the Ahmedabad airport is turning murky. Discrepancies have emerged over how many gold biscuits were actually taken from the victim, how many had he mentioned in his application to the police, how many did the police register in its FIR, and finally how many were actually recovered from the arrested accused.In his application to the police, the victim had stated that he was robbed of eight gold biscuits by the impersonators, but the FIR mentions that he was robbed of only one gold biscuit weighing 100 gm. However, as per the police, they have recovered 552 gm gold from the seven accused arrested.Given the multiplicity of the versions by the victim, the accused and the police, only a high level investigation will bring out the truth and expose any shady dealings.Airport police sources said that Mohammed Faizal, originally from UP and working at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, had landed in Ahmedabad on June 7 morning. He cleared immigration, Customs and security and exited Terminal 2 where his friend Abdul Ahad received him.Just as the two were about to board an auto-rickshaw, they were stopped by three men carrying walkie talkies. They claimed to be Customs officers. As per initial information, Faizal was asked to hand over the 2,000 Riyals and one gold biscuit of 100 gm he had concealed in his underwear. They also relieved Ahad of Rs 20,000 and a mobile phone. The two men were then threatened with a 10-year jail sentence before leaving.Faizal had in his application to the airport police stated that he was robbed of eight gold biscuits by the impersonators.Airport police checked the CCTV footage of the area where the robbery took place as well as the auto-rickshaw parking from which Faizal identified one person. During investigation, he turned out to be Rutvik Rathod, who worked for Namaste-G company which handles security at the airport. He was arrested.After interrogation, other employees of Namaste-G, Jitendra Tomar, Prakash Maheriya, Santosh Maurya, Roshan Giri, Keval Vyas and one other person, Shashikant Tiwari, were arrested.Further interrogation revealed that Shashikant Tiwari was going to sell the gold to one Puneet Tiwari in Delhi. Police are yet to track downthe latter.Unanswered questionsTop level sources at the airport said that many questions remain unanswered in the entire matter. If there is a proper, high level inquiry, then apart from robbery, a gold smuggling network could be unearthed.Strangely, Faizal was not caught by the Customs or Immigration at the airport. On the other hand, sources said that the impersonators were tipped off that he was carrying gold.Airport Police Inspector R R Desai said, “We have asked Faizal to submit a bill for the gold biscuit, but he has not submitted it.” It has been 15 days since the incident, but he has still not produced the bill. So, the pertinent question is, whether it was brought in illegally?Inspector Desai said, “In his application, complainant Mohammed Faizal had stated that eight gold biscuits were stolen. However, he said only one biscuit was stolen when the FIR was registered. When we asked him about this, he said that he had exaggerated his claim, so that the police would work faster. However, from Shashikant Tiwari, we recovered 552 gm of gold powder from a plastic bag. We are also investigating the smuggling angle along with the loot.”Sources in the security agency of the airport said, “There is a possibility of gold smuggling in this case.”On their part, Customs sources said, “Faizal was handed an underwear with 8 gold biscuits weighing 116 gms each at Kuwait airport. When he landed in Ahmedabad, photos of him and his passport were shared with the impersonators. On the basis of this, the impersonators stopped and robbed them. They were targeting those who were smuggling gold into the country. A large network can be busted if a high level and thorough investigation takes place.”Meanwhile, 15 days have passed since the incident, but police are saying that the investigation is still underway.Unless a thorough inquiry is carried out, many questions will remain unanswered.

Case of stolen gold, smuggling or connivance?