DRI Cracks Down on Smuggled Gold Operation in Mumbai, Seizes 2.1 Kg Gold, $100,000, and Rs. 2.32 Crores Cash

DRI Cracks Down on Smuggled Gold Operation in Mumbai - Seizes - Gold - Crores Cash - TAXSCAN

Acting on highly specific intelligence, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) conducted covert operations aimed at uncovering the clandestine activities related to melting and trading of smuggled gold. Their extensive efforts led to the discovery of 2.1 kilograms of gold illicitly brought into India, foreign currency amounting to $100,000 (equivalent to Rs. 84.15 lakhs), and a substantial sum of Rs. 2.32 crores in cash, which represented the proceeds from the sale of the smuggled gold.

These seizures were made in both a gold melting facility and a jewellery shop located in Mumbai. Notably, the individual who owned and operated the gold melting facility was identified as a repeat offender with pending cases against them.

Subsequent investigations unearthed a concerning pattern of gold smuggling planned by African female nationals. These individuals had been smuggling gold into India, which was then aggregated by a select few middlemen who, in turn, supplied the contraband to the owner and operator of the gold melting facility in Mumbai.

Maintaining strict surveillance around the clock, DRI officers successfully tracked the activities of the African nationals to two hotels in South Mumbai, which served as their base for conducting these illicit business transactions. As a result, the authorities seized additional foreign currency worth $331,600 (equivalent to Rs. 2,78,70,980) and Indian currency amounting to Rs. 63,07,500, all of which constituted the earnings derived from the illegal gold trade.

The investigation brought to light a deep-rooted network involving African female nationals engaged in smuggling gold into India and the owner and operator of the gold melting facility, who facilitated the conversion of the smuggled gold into cash in both foreign and Indian currency.

These aggregators primarily collected the smuggled gold from various carriers, most of whom were Kenyan and Tanzanian nationals. The melter, responsible for processing the gold, subsequently sold it to jewellers in exchange for cash. The funds acquired through this process were then funnelled back to the aggregators, who distributed the money among the carriers involved. In total, eight individuals were apprehended, comprising three Indian nationals, four Kenyan females, and one female Tanzanian national.

The seizures made during these operations were of substantial value, amounting to $431,600 (approximately Rs. 3.62 crores) from the proceeds of the sale of smuggled gold, as well as Indian currency totaling Rs. 2.95 crores and an additional 2.1 kilograms of smuggled gold. This operation marks a significant blow to a smuggling syndicate that utilised African nationals as carriers for their activities. Notably, this incident follows a similar bust in April 2023, when another syndicate employing Sudanese nationals as carriers was dismantled by the DRI.

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