Delhi airport duty-free shop being used for smuggling gold
New Delhi - In its effort to check gold smuggling mainly by airlines crew and ground handling staff, the Customs is also considering regulating use of mobile phones inside the airport premises by them.
Smugglers are using the duty-free shop at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi to sneak gold into the country, forcing customs authorities to step up vigil.
In its effort to check gold smuggling mainly by airlines crew and ground handling staff, the Customs is also considering regulating use of mobile phones inside the airport premises by them.
Many such issues were discussed during a recent meeting by officials of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) with representatives of airlines, immigration, Central Industrial Security Force, Customs and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), official sources said.
The officials pointed out instances where passengers would hide gold in duty-free shop allegedly with the connivance of ground handling staff manning it. Later, the gold would be ferried out of the airport by one of the personnel working there, they said.
There has also been a demand to regulate the use of mobile phones by ground handling staff and restrict their access within the airport to check gold smuggling, the sources said.
The Customs authorities have also expressed concern over non-availability of a X-ray machine at the arrival area to exclusively scan hand baggages of passengers, they said.
There have been some cases where people were hiding gold in hand baggages. In most of the cases they are caught, but the possibility of gold coming into the country in few instances without the payment of duty cannot be ruled out, the sources said.
The meeting was called after authorities found either an airline crew or workers of ground handling companies allegedly involved in 80 cases of gold smuggling reported in past three years, they said.
There has been an unprecedented five-time jump in cases of gold smuggling in 2014-15 over 2012-13 during which yellow metal worth Rs 1,120 crore was seized.
A total of 4,400 cases of gold smuggling have been registered in the country during 2014-15. About 4,480 kg (4.48 metric tonnes) of the precious metal valued at about Rs 1,120 crore were seized in these cases.
There were 870 cases of gold smuggling registered during 2012-13, five times less than those filed in 2014-15 fiscal. About 400 kg of gold valued at about Rs 100 crore were seized in these cases.
In 2013-14, as many as 2,700 cases were registered which 2,760 kgs (2.76 metric tonnes) of gold, worth about Rs 690 crore was seized.