Even as gold imports continue to decline due to stringent measures taken by the government, smuggling of the yellow metal has continued to increase as a result of import curbs. Customs authorities on Sunday seized smuggled gold worth Rs 45 lakh from a passenger coming from Dubai at IGI airport in Delhi.
Based on suspicion the passenger was searched and one gold bar weighing 1.5kg was recovered from her baggage. The seizure, however, threw up a new modus operandi where the bar was hidden near the handle between the metallic rim and the cloth of the bag.
According to sources, on Sunday, while keeping surveillance on the passengers coming from Dubai sector, one passenger who arrived at IGI airport from Dubai vide flight no EK-514 was intercepted after she crossed the Green Channel.
The passenger's movement was suspicious and customs authorities profiled her for further examination as it was suspected she may have been carrying goods for which duties were not paid.
On detailed examination of her baggage, nothing objectionable was found. However, when it was taken through X-Ray it showed a gold bar hidden near the handle of the bag.
The same was seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 and the passenger was arrested under Section 104 of the Act. The total value of the gold biscuits is assessed to Rs 28.32 lakh.
Sources said further investigations were under progress to find out who he was going to deliver the gold biscuits to.
Import duty on gold now stands at 10%, a 1,000 per cent increase in the past couple of years. To plug a yawning current account deficit, the government has been consistently increasing import duty on gold to discourage buyers from investing into it. This has led to a wide gap between prices in Dubai (where duty is just 1%) and India leading to rampant smuggling of the yellow metal.
Financial agencies have reported over 200 consignments of gold seized in the past couple of months alone.