Hyderabad: The year 2018 saw a surge in gold smuggling cases compared to earlier years. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (Hyderabad zone) sleuths seized over 45 kg of gold smuggled in through airways and railways. The intelligence agency also seized cigarettes, narcotics, diesel and wildlife in huge quantities.
DRI Hyderabad, that tracks cases of smuggling and customs duty evasion, handles three states — Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
The agency booked 47 cases of smuggling during last year. Since January 2019, the sleuths have busted three rackets, including two of gold smuggling and one of narcotic trade. The seized gold and narcotics are worth over Rs 4 crore.
According to DRI data, in 2018, officials busted 20 cases of gold smuggling, 13 of narcotics export/import, one of cigarettes import, three of Fake Indian Currency Notes import, three of export of wildlife (star tortoise) and seven of attempt to export foreign currency at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. A case of smuggling of red sanders was busted at Visakhapatnam and another of diesel import from Gulf at Kakinada.
There had been just 13 cases of gold seizure during 2017, when around 24 kg of the yellow metal, worth `7 crore, was seized.
DRI officials said that cases of gold import and ganja smuggling and foreign currency seizures have increased very much. Cases of gold smuggling were higher in Andhra Pradesh compared to in previous years.
Altogether 18.932 kg of gold was seized in eight instances in Andhra Pradesh, 11.555 kg in 10 instances in Telangana and 8.318 kg in two instances in Odisha. The quantity seized shows the demand for gold, said an official.
There is also a rise in cases of Marijuana smuggling. Over 9,610 kg of the banned narcotic drug was seized by sleuths, of which six cases were reported from Andhra Pradesh, four from Odisha and three from Telangana.
Early last year around 264MT of diesel imported from Gulf countries was seized before being exported to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The diesel was caught at Chennai Port and had been marked as mineral spirit.
The demand for Indian star tortoises continued, as about 1,531 animals were seized before being exported from Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam railway stations to Bangladesh. Five persons, including two women, were arrested, said the officials. Indian star tortoises are the most traded reptile species in the world. Each animal could cost around `25,000, said officials....