Millennium Post

DRI busts smuggling syndicate, seizes gold & narcotics worth Rs 3.31 cr

Kolkata: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a "corporate-style" smuggling syndicate and seized eight kg of gold, about 74 kg of silver jewellery and three kgs of narcotics from a bus plying from Siliguri to Kolkata, according to an official statement issued on Wednesday.

The cumulative seizure value is Rs 3.31 crore and six persons have been arrested in the case, it said.

Among those arrested is the mastermind of this well-organised smuggling racket and his nephew. The two were involved in a series of cases in which about 360 kg of gold valued at more than Rs 108 crore was seized over the past five years, the statement said.

Investigations further revealed that the mastermind runs a very well-coordinated corporate-type smuggling 'organisation', with separate verticals/divisions handling finance and manpower (carriers of gold), it said.

This structure enabled the mastermind to remain incognito for the last five years or more, the DRI said.

The uncle-nephew pair was involved in ferrying huge quantities of smuggled gold from various bordering locations.

Based on intelligence, a private bus coming from Siliguri to Kolkata on Sunday, was intercepted at around 9.00 am at Dankuni toll plaza, the DRI said.

On search of the bus, eight kg of foreign origin gold, collectively valued at Rs 2.71 crore, and Rs 24,000 in cash was seized from a person.

"The gold was smuggled from Bhutan and was to be delivered at Kolkata," the DRI said in the statement.

Markings on the gold biscuits showed their country of origin as China, it said.

Silver jewellery, including bangles, rings, earrings, pendants, necklace etc. weighing 73.86 kg, valued at Rs 59 lakh and Rs 31,000 in cash was also seized from three other persons, the statement said.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the jewellery was smuggled into India through Bagdogra airport from Bangkok and cleared illegally, the probe agency said.

The search of the bus also led to the recovery of one unclaimed backpack containing about 3 kg ganja, which was seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

All the four apprehended persons were arrested, the DRI said. Preliminary investigation led the DRI to two addresses at Salt Lake and Bangur Avenue in search of the two persons said to be the masterminds of the attempted smuggling of gold.

During interrogation, one of the persons admitted to have arranged the pur-

chase of the 8 kg gold from Bhutan and entrusted the

same to the apprehended carrier for its delivery at Kolkata for a carrying charge of Rs 6,000 per kg.

His profit in the whole deal was supposed to be Rs 50,000 per kg, the DRI said.

The gold was smuggled from different borders such as Indo-Bangaldesh, Indo-Burma and Indo-Bhutan, by employing various carriers and middlemen.

During the last financial year, the DRI had seized over 464 kg of gold in 46 cases within the geographical precincts of West Bengal and Sikkim. The gold, which was smuggled from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and even China, was valued at Rs 145.69 crore.

In the current financial year, 49.81 kg of gold has been seized in less than 3 months. This includes the gold seized on Sunday.

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