Millennium Post

Jeweller diverts gold worth Rs 150 cr, DRI seizes 40 kg bullion

Rs 150 crore worth of bullion was smuggled into the domestic market by a jeweller in Noida post demonetisation. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted major ‘Export fraud’ run by a unit manufacturing processing gold jewellery operating in Noida’s Special Economic Zone (NSEZ).

The jeweller has been identified as the owner of Mahalaxmi Jewellers that operates the racket from Dwarka, Delhi and has one set-up in Karol Bagh while one in Noida SEZ. The DRI officials raided his business as well as residential premises and seized a total of 40 kg gold valued at around Rs 12 crore.

The jewellers are trying to make huge profits by selling the gold at high rates as the demand for the yellow metal had surged immediately after the currency ban as people rushed to use their cash pile to buy the yellow metal. These jewellers were also found selling gold for more than 70 thousand against the demonetised currency.

In the raid, several documents and records were searched by the officials from which it was clear that bullion worth Rs 150 crore has been diverted into the Indian market after demonetisation. It is also believed that the mastermind has diverted imported gold bars procured under bond from banks or nominated agencies for manufacturing jewellery; said DRI officials. The mastermind of the racket has been arrested and remanded to judicial custody. The raids are still on to zero in on the illegal gold buyers, said a DRI official.

The alleged Mahalakshmi Jewellers was smuggling high purity gold imported from Dubai which was then diverted to the domestic market by evading just 10 per cent customs duty. It is suspected that he has sold the gold to jewellers in Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh. Few days back, another jeweller from Noida was also arrested after he was found guilty of allegedly selling bullion worth Rs 600 crore.

There have been several cases of jewellers getting gold illegally and then using it in their businesses. The black money hoarders have also turned their money white by buying gold bars with demonetised notes. Smuggled gold has been in high demand in India post-demonetisation and several incidents have been reported where the black money holders turned their black to white. This racket also showed the involvement of some bank officials and jewellers with black money holders. DRI is now examining the misuse of duty free gold imports into the county, says DRI release.

The finance ministry said that huge quantities of gold bars were being smuggled through the Indo-Myanmar border adjacent to Moreh in Manipur and the Zokhawthar area in Mizoram. A porous land border and difficult terrain made it challenging to detect smuggling of gold through the Indo-Myanmar border, the ministry said.
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