Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (MS)
Mangaluru, Mar 16: Smuggling of gold has increased considerably through the international airport in the city as the price of yellow metal is skyrocketing in the international market.
In the first two and a half months itself, a record of Rs 7 crore worth of gold is confiscated. Most of the gold is smuggled in from Dubai. Most of the offenders belong to Kerala and Bhatkal. Gold is being smuggled by hiding it in electronic and other goods, in powder or paste form, by inserting it in belts, socks, underwear, private parts or rectums.
As Mangaluru is near Kerala, it is more convenient for the smugglers to transport the gold through this airport. In Kerala, gold smuggling 10 times more than that in Mangaluru International Airport is taking place.
Mangaluru International Airport (file photo)
In the month of January gold worth Rs 3 crore was confiscated. In February the figure was Rs 2 crore and in the month of March gold worth Rs 2.15 crore was confiscated from passengers. On March 1, gold worth Rs 5.52 lac, on March 2, 350 grams of gold worth Rs 16.52 lac, on March 4, 238 grams of gold worth Rs 11 lac, on March 11 2.41 kg of gold worth Rs 1.10 crore, which was hidden in the underwear, sanitary pad and in paste form in socks and on March 13, 737 grams of gold worth Rs 33.75 lac is confiscated by the customs officials of Mangaluru International Airport.
Most of the offenders are professional smugglers. They get caught once in 10 or 12 times. After they get released, they continue the same illegal trade. There are incidents where the customs officials and personnel also have joined hands with the smugglers. However, recently many who are caught were doing the illegal act for the first time. Packets of gold are handed over to these smugglers outside the airport in Dubai itself and if it is handed over to the concerned party in India these carriers are paid Rs 30 to 40,000. They hand over the gold to the person who will be waiting outside the airport. If caught there is an arrangement to get them released also.
Though metal detectors and scanners are installed at the airport, carriers have become intelligent and carry them in powder and paste form which cannot be traced in scanning. They hide the gold in bag buttons, hooks, the strap of the suitcase and capsules. These are painted like steel and difficult to make out for bare eyes. However, a senior official says that they catch the culprit mostly from their facial appearance.
The main reason for smuggling is that the rate of gold in India is more than in overseas countries. There is a difference of around Rs 5 to 6 lac per kg of gold that is bought in gulf countries to that of India. Moreover, the quality of gold available in gulf countries is much better than the one available in India. Gold traders in India buy this smuggled gold and make ornaments as per the demand of their customers.