Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a pan-India gold smuggling syndicate of Sudanese nationals operating through Nepal border. In a nationwide operation, called Golden Dawn, the DRI intercepted and sized a total of 101.7 kg of smuggled gold valued at ₹51 crore (approx.) in Patna, Pune and Mumbai. The seized gold, mostly in paste form, was being brought to Patna through the Indo-Nepal border and then transported via train or by air to different parts of the country, largely to Mumbai.
The DRI officials intercepted three Sudanese nationals in the late night of February 19 boarding a train at the Patna Railway Station destined to Mumbai. Gold paste containing gold weighing 37.126 kg in 40 packets was recovered from two Sudanese nationals, who had ingeniously concealed it in specially made cavity of the sleeveless jackets worn by them. The third person was the handler coordinating the smuggling activity at the border area and arranged the transport of smuggled gold.
The second set of two Sudanese lady nationals were intercepted on February 20 in Pune while travelling from Hyderabad to Mumbai by bus and 5.615 kg of smuggled gold in assorted form was recovered from them concealed in their hand bags.
The third set of two Sudanese nationals travelling to Mumbai from Patna were intercepted at the Mumbai Railway Station also on February 20. Gold paste containing gold weighing 38.76 kg in 40 packets was recovered from 2 Sudanese who had concealed it in similar fashion.
Acting on the leads provided by the smugglers, the DRI officers recovered about 20.2 kg of smuggled gold in assorted forms along with ₹74 lakh worth foreign currency and ₹63 lakh Indian currency from different premises in Mumbai being used for extraction and storage of smuggled gold. Three persons were apprehended in this follow up action.
DRI has earlier unearthed various novel modus operandi of smuggling foreign origin gold into India such as smuggling from the north-eastern part of the country, either through courier route of logistics companies or using concealment methods in vehicles or in person by bus, train, flight etc., or recovery of gold from sea bed in Tamil Nadu Coast, after it was thrown by smugglers from the fishing boat apart from the traditional modes used by the smugglers.