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Government of India

Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue)


DRI cracks gold smuggling gangs from Chennai/Tamil Nadu and Seized
kg. of Smuggled gold valued Rs.16.85 crore from Malaysia and Singapore
through flights landing at Visakhapatnam International Airport.

Specific intelligence was developed by Chennai Zonal Unit of the Directorate of

Revenue Intelligence (DRI-CZU), that gold concealed in various electronic goods,
consumer durables are being smuggled from Malaysia and Singapore in a large
quantity by certain smuggling gangs operating from Chennai/Tamil Nadu. In a major
crackdown operation by DRI, Chennai with the assistance of DRI units at
Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Customs Commissionerate, Visakhapatnam resulted
in huge haul of 63 kg. of smuggled gold from three international flights on 22/06/2015.
Surveillance/ Study: Officers of DRI were deployed for surveillance of suspect
persons of the various smuggling gangs and specific inputs were also developed
about the mode of smuggling. It was identified that a large number of non frequent
travelling passengers are deployed as couriers for bringing into the country such
electronic goods, consumer durables through check-in baggage in specific flights
landing at unfrequented airports. Further, it was also found that specialized concealing
methods were adopted to smuggle gold in such electronic goods, so that these cannot
be easily detected by Customs through regular scanning of X-ray baggage machine or
in routine inspection/examination of these goods. Further, the passenger manifest for
suspect flights was also studied and the list of suspect passengers and their pattern of
travel were found out.
Interception: From detailed analysis as above, three flights landing at
Visakhapatnam International airport on 21/06/2015, Sunday late night viz. Air Asia 83
and Malindo 251, both from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Silk Air MI442 from
Singapore were identified for interception and recovery of smuggled gold. The first
flight Air-Asia arrived at 21.10 Hrs; and the second flight Silk Air arrived at 22.05 Hrs
and the last Malindo at 23. 00 Hrs. Suspect passengers were identified in each of the
above flights and their baggage was segregated for detailed examination by DRI,
while providing normal baggage clearance facility for genuine passengers travelling in
these flights. There were about 56 such passengers in all the said three flights.
4. Detection of Concealment & Seizure of gold, in various electronic goods/
consumer durables: All the short listed suspect passengers were enquired by DRI
and their passports were scrutinized. It was found that these passengers use to depart
from Chennai airport to Malaysia/ Singapore and was arriving at various international
airports with smuggled gold. Each of these passenger were carrying baggage
containing electronic goods/consumer durables such as music system, amplifiers,
mini washing machine, electric oven, induction stove, Television etc.

On the basis of the analysis, DRI had formed a special team of officers
consisting of DRI, Chennai; DRI, Visakhapatnam and select officers of the Customs
Commissionerate of Visakhapatnam for interception and recovery of smuggled gold at
the Visakhapatnam International airport. The segregated baggage was scanned one
by one and the suspect goods were categorized individually and detailed examination,
by breaking open the goods into the concealment area. This operation had started at
early hours on 22/06/2015 and continued till late evening. It was found that the gold of
various shapes resembling the parts of the electronic goods, such as magnets in
amplifiers, stand of speakers, central pulley of washing machine, rods of stand/trolley,
magnets in transformer, have been used to conceal the smuggled gold in a meticulous
manner so that these could not be easily found out during x-ray baggage examination
by Customs officers.
The total quantity of such gold smuggled by this modus operandi
amounted to a total of 63 kg. and its value is about Rs.16.85 crore. The entire
quantity of smuggled gold was seized, as it was brought in an illegal manner in
violation of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and Baggage Rules, 1998. All the 56
passengers are being subjected to detailed examination in terms of the legal
provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 for having indulged in the smuggling activity for
monetary consideration. Necessary legal action under Customs Act, 1962 for offences
committed in smuggling of gold has been contemplated and the further investigation is
22nd June, 2015.

Additional Director General ***

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