Kozhikode: With customs officials in the State cracking down on gold smugglers in airports, the smugglers have now turned to courier agencies in a bid to continue their illegal trade. Consignments from abroad sent through courier agencies to different parts of the country do carry smuggled gold, a senior customs official said.
Most of this gold ends up in the State either by rail or road. Used household items, toys and foreign cigarettes are all favourite material for gold smugglers. Apart from consignments sent to different parts of the country, many more such packets land in Kerala directly also. “We need to have strict screening of courier agencies. The system for screening these packages is very limited,” the officer said.
“Today, we seized a consignment of imported cigarettes at Shoranur railway station. This was smuggled in without paying duty, from North India. Trains are being used to smuggle gold and other items to Kerala from North India, Mumbai and Bangalore,” another official said. The smugglers carry gold rods concealed in cigarette packets.
The smugglers have also now turned to other airports in the country as checking is very strict in Kerala. Customs sources say Hyderabad airport has now become the main target of gold smugglers from Kerala. The modus operandi is to carry one kg of duty paid gold while concealing an extra quantity. Such carriers escape a closer scrutiny.
“Most of the gold smuggled finally ends up in Kerala. We have requested other agencies to be on high alert at state borders and to share inputs with us,” the official said....