Millennium Post

Father-son duo among three held for over Rs 150 cr gold diversion fraud: DRI

Kolkata: Three men, including a father-son duo, have been arrested by the DRI for allegedly diverting gold jewellery worth at least Rs 150 crore meant for foreign markets to use in India, according to an official statement issued today.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is investigating gold jewellery exporters declaring exports using the personal hand carry export procedure' a government policy that allows exporters to carry gold jewellery in hand baggage instead of cargo to destinations in United Arab Emirates (UAE) but diverting the consignments into the domestic market by manipulating the procedure.
The accused were arrested from the international airport here when they were trying to divert Rs 15 crore worth gold jewellery, it said.
While the son was intercepted at the time of boarding a flight to Dubai, his father was de-boarded from a flight destined to Hyderabad, the statement said.
Documents were filed by them at the Customs Air Cargo Complex, Kolkata, for export by hand carriage of gold bangles weighing 54 kg to be carried to Dubai by the son on board the flight bound for Dubai.
After the gold bangles were checked by the customs at the cargo, as per procedure, the items were sealed and escorted to the airport.
"Before entering immigration and security check, the son took the goods meant for export to an entry gate of the airport where his father was waiting and handed them over for diversion. The father then booked the two metal boxes containing the gold bangles through domestic cargo for transfer to Hyderabad," it said.
DRI officials acted in the nick of time and intercepted the two as they were about to board/ had boarded their respective flights and also retrieved two metal boxes containing the gold booked for Hyderabad as domestic cargo.
Surprisingly, the father was found to be travelling to Hyderabad from Kolkata on a ticket in the name of his son, the DRI said.
In the latest case, the diverted gold bangles weighing 54 kg and valued at about Rs 16 crore meant for export have been seized by the DRI.
"DRI investigations till now reveal that more than 500 kg of gold jewellery, valued at about Rs 150 crore, meant for export has been diverted using this modus operandi by this particular syndicate," the statement said.
The agency is investigating whether this modus operandi has been used by other gold jewellery exporters in the country, it said.
Both accused admitted to have diverted gold bangles/chains in similar fashion in the past through Kolkata as well as Hyderabad airports after completion of the customs export procedure.
Another associate of these two accused was examined by the DRI and he also admitted that he was involved and diverted gold jewellery meant for export through airports after completion of the export procedure.
The mastermind confessed to have received remittances against such export consignments though no actual gold bangles were physically exported, the probe agency said.
He used to send cash to his Dubai-based contacts through hawala channels and got the money back into his Indian bank accounts as export proceeds, it said.
He admittedly sold primary gold purchased from nominated agencies in the domestic market instead of making gold jewellery for export.
For fulfilment of their export obligation and to redeem the security amount paid by them to nominated agencies at the time of purchase of primary gold, they had resorted to diversion of gold bangles meant for export after completing all export formalities, the DRI said.
In fact the same sets of gold bangles were repeatedly used to show export of different consignments, it said.
Three people have been arrested in this case.

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