From the village of thieves (Thiruttu Gramam) in Tamil Nadu to Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and Bhatkal in Karnataka dubbed as terror hubs, security agencies often love the idea of geolocating crime.
Two locales in Kerala - Koduvally Municipality in Kozhikode and the district of Kasaragod - have recently entered the crime map of the Customs Department because of links bulk of gold smugglers apprehended by them has to the region.
As many as 178 out of the 475 post-seizure gold raids in the country by intelligence agencies and various wings of Customs last year were conducted in these two localities.
Sources said they had been tracking people from these two places at airports in the country more than any other segment of travellers. The state witnessed a record number of gold seizure cases in the last financial year.
According to the data available with the Customs, various government agencies arrested 104 persons in connection with gold seizure.
Gold totaling 250.88 kg in the form of biscuits, approximately worth `67.92 crore in open market, were seized. The Customs also received a sum of `12.77 crore as customs duty on gold.
In the year 2013-14, the agencies had arrested a total of 85 persons and seized 171.53 kg gold, besides levying `10.40 crore as duty.
More than ninety per cent of the people arrested by the Department belonged to one religion Customs officials said.
As many smugglers and carriers hailed from Koduvally and Kasaragod, passengers from these locales were often subjected to rigorous frisking and checks, they said. Speaking to Express, K N Raghavan, Commissioner of Customs, Kochi, said: “It is unfortunate that people from one particular religion are prone to involvement in such illegal activity. But the agencies could not establish that they have links with terrorist outfits. We deem that these people are getting involved in the trade to make quick money.”