Smuggled gold seizures surge 62.5% between 2020-2022

Gold smuggling appears to be on the rise, as the incidence seizure has surged by over 62 per cent in terms of quantity between 2020 and 2022. Even in January this year, over 384 kilograms of gold were sized.

Industry player says seizure is just a part of what has actually been smuggled and one reason for higher smuggling is rise in customs duty. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), smuggling could increase by 33 per cent to touch 160 tonnes in calendar year 2022 compared to the pre-Covid period due to the increase in the import duty on gold to 12.5 per cent from 7.5 per cent. . The Customs duty was hiked in last July.

Rising cases

Data presented in Lok Sabha, as part of written response to a question by the Minister of State in Finance Ministry Pankaj Chaudhary, showed about 2,567 cases of gold seizures in 2020 with 2,155 kilograms in quantity terms. In 2021, number of cases and quantity seized rose to 2,445 and 2,383 kilograms, respectively. Year 2022 saw further rise and two numbers were 3,982 and 3,502 kilograms, respectively. In the past three years, over 4,500 people were arrested. In January this year, around 414 cases of gold seizures were registered with arrest of 115 persons.

“To deter smuggling of gold and drugs, Customs field formations and DRI keep constant vigil and take operational measures such as passenger profiling, risk-based interdiction and targeting of cargo consignments, non-intrusive inspection, rummaging of aircrafts and coordination with other agencies. Modus Operandi Circulars related to new modus/method used by the smugglers are issued from time to time,” Chaudhary said.

drug smuggling

Data also revealed that smuggling of drugs is also on the rise. In 2020, over 55,000 cases came into light with arrest of over 73,000. In 2021, these numbers rose to around 68,000 cases and arresting of over 93,500. In 2022 (January-November), the total number of cases registered were over 66,700 and around 80,000 traffickers were arrested. CBCS (Cannabichromene) was most preferred drugs to be smuggled followed by ganja and poppy husk.

Chaudhary says the Government makes policy interventions and takes operational measures to check smuggling. Strict vigil is being kept at possible areas of smuggling. Modus Operandi Circulars related to new modus/method used by the smugglers are being issued to all the Customs field formations.

Further, “to counter the menace of NDPS smuggling, various Central law enforcement agencies and state police departments monitor and control drug smuggling in India. A Narco Co-ordination Center (NCORD) has been set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs for effective co-ordination among various law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Also, a dedicated Anti-Narcotics Task Force has been established in each of the states/union territories to control menace of drug trafficking. The Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG) set up under the aegis of National Security Council Secretariat, also monitors smuggling of drugs.

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