Majority of Gulf gold carriers from Karimnagar
Smuggling of gold via flights has seen a huge increase in the recent past. The air intelligence unit at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad has so far registered 40 cases this year, while it was only ten cases till August 2016.
Officials said that more cases are registered due to a rise in detection. “Though there is an increase in detection, it will not account for the 10 per cent of the total gold which is smuggled into the country,” a senior customs official said. They say that the syndicate rakes in a profit of `5 lakh for each kg of gold smuggled.
Gold smuggling has recently turned out to be one of the lucrative ways of earning. It has become a preferred route to earn quick money. The easiest way to smuggle gold is concealing it under clothes or undergarments. If caught, they can release the gold by paying the customs duty and the fine. “Unless there is a specific tipoff, a carrier cannot be identified and caught. Due to the rush at the airport, each passenger cannot be subjected to People working in the Gulf countries are the easy target of smugglers, who lure them with commission according to the value of the gold they carry.
A majority of the carriers hail from the undivided Karimnagar followed by Nizamabad district.
A recent seizure revealed that a person from the undivided Karimnagar district went to the Gulf a decade ago and started a company. He sends the contraband with his employees who are returning to their native place in India.
“Little is known about him other than his community screening,” a senior customs official said.
Officials say that in most cases, the carriers easily walk out with the gold as there is less chance for suspicion. “Though there is an increase in the number of cases, the actual details. He is never in the picture,” customs officials said.
The blue collar workers are their main targets. When the employer refuses to pay the air fare, the organiser lures them with the money for the air fare and ask them to smuggle gold. In some cases, the consignment detection or the seizure is less than the 10 per cent of the gold smuggled into the country. This is the situation at all the international airports in the country,” said the official from the customs.
The smuggled gold is given as a gift to relatives who will collect it on arrival.
“In some cases, the carriers are not actually aware that they are smuggling gold,” the official added.
The fine includes 36 per cent of the total value of the gold with 20 per cent penalty. can be confiscated only if the value is above `20 lakh.
If the carrier is a repeat offender, the penalty amount will increase. Often carriers are caught and the organisers are never brought into light.