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Gold smugglers give busy time to sleuths across state

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials have busted three gold smuggling gangs in different parts of the state and seized 27.6 kg of smuggled gold worth Rs 8.13 crore and arrested eight persons.

Gold smugglers give busy time to sleuths across state
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(Clockwise) Gold seized by DRI officials that was concealed in different objects in a bid to smuggle

Chennai

The DRI sleuths, acting on a specific intelligence regarding smuggling of gold from Sri Lanka by sea and transportation of the yellow metal to different parts of Tamil Nadu, intercepted a Maruti Swift car, which was on its way to Coimbatore on Saturday evening. 

The DRI team intercepted the vehicle and picked up the two occupants of the vehicle. When they inspected the vehicle, they found out 10 kg of smuggled gold concealed inside the vehicle. 

Further interrogation of the two led to the search of their premises in Coimbatore and seizure of another 4 kg of smuggled gold. In the late evening on the same day, another DRI team intercepted a Toyota Innova near Thoothukudi and seized 10 kg of smuggled gold from the vehicle. 

One of the passengers of the vehicle admitted to smuggling gold from Sri Lanka and receiving gold mid-sea from their Sri Lankan counterparts. Another team, intercepted a person on a bike near Ramanathapuram and seized 3.6 kg of gold. 

DRI sources said these gold bars were also having foreign marks and the arrested accused admitted to smuggling of gold from Sri Lanka. The DRI sources said after Chennai, Coimbatore with its increasing affluent population and mushrooming jewelleries has come another favourite point of sale for gold smugglers. Several smuggled gold consignments are now being sold in Coimbatore, DRI sources added. 

DRI has seized 114 kg of smuggled gold, worth Rs 33.7 crore, since January this year and arrested 41 accused who were involved in smuggling of gold by air, sea and through land borders. The increasing trend has been the use of the Palk Straits to smuggle huge quantities of gold from Sri Lanka to India. DRI officials said the porous coast line and the unregulated fishing fleet provided the essential camouflage to the smugglers.

1 kg haul at Coimbatore airport 
Working on a specific intelligence, the officials of the DRI Coimbatore intercepted a passenger who had reached Coimbatore airport by Air Arabia flight on Monday and seized 1 kg of gold which was concealed inside a marble-cutter machine. 
DRI officials intercepted Abdul Gafoor, a native of Calicut, when he was about to leave the airport after customs clearance. On interrogation, he refused to reveal the consignment and on detailed examination, the DRI officials recovered the gold, which was neatly wrapped and kept concealed inside the cutter machine. DRI then seized the consignment and arrested the youth. Police said the accused was travelling from Kuwait via Sharjah to Coimbatore. DRI officials suspect that the carrier could have been used by a North Kerala based smuggling racket, which had been very active till two years before. DRI has registered a case and further investigations  is on.
AIU seizes gold concealed in a novel way 
AIU slueths from Tiruchy airport seized gold weighing 539 grams in 15 small cut pieces concealed in transformers of a DVD player on Monday from a Chennai-based passenger bound from Bangkok. According to sources, while the officials involved in the regular checking of passenger baggage’s of Sri Lankan airways, they stopped Riyadh Ahamed on suspicion. As doubted, they seized gold weighing 539 grams worth Rs 15.40 lakh concealed at five DVD players as tiny cut pieces. Subsequently, the officials seized the gold. Further investigations is on.

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