Saturday, September 15, 2012

Senior citizen caught trying to smuggle 1kg gold into city Ornaments worth Rs30 lakh recovered; man claims he is jobless, acted as a carrier for a commission of Rs3,000

Senior citizen caught trying to smuggle 1kg gold into city

Ornaments worth Rs30 lakh recovered; man claims he is jobless, acted as a carrier for a commission of Rs3,000

MUMBAI: In the sixth instance of gold smuggling in two months, Customs officials on Friday arrested a 60-year-old man who was trying to smuggle 1kg of the yellow metal from Dubai. The value of the cargo is estimated to be worth Rs30.34 lakh.
Haresh Satikumar, a Mumbai resident, had concealed the ornaments in a specially designed vest that had an inner pocket that ended well below the waist. He slipped the ornaments, kept in two packets, into the inner pocket and zipped it up. He wore a loose shirt above it hoping it would conceal the stash. However, the discomfort and his awkward body language eventually gave him away.
At around 4.30am, Satikumar crossed the green channel at the city airport without declaring the gold, only to be caught by an air intelligence unit (AIU) batch headed by deputy commissioner of Customs, Sameer Wankhede. Officials found chains, bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants concealed inside the vest.
Satikumar later told the officials about his accomplice, one Shailesh Soni, a jeweller, who was waiting outside the airport to collect the consignment. Customs officials forced Satikumar to call on Soni's phone and lure him into a trap.
Satikumar also told officials that he was merely a carrier and he did this for a meager commission of Rs3,000. He had gone to Dubai on Wednesday to bring in the consignment.
Soni revealed that he was to receive the gold and hand over the same to a kingpin, who is being traced by the Customs.
Satikumar told officials he worked as an ornament maker in Dubai many years ago. However, things took a turn for the worse and he lost his job. Unemployed, he was finding it tough to support his wife and daughter with whom he lived in Mumbai. "He said earning Rs3,000 for a single job was better than dying of hunger," said a Customs official. The two were arrested and produced in court. Advocate Ravi Hirani who represented the two accused said they had no knowledge that they had to declare the gold in India. The two men were released on bail.


Before boarding a flight
from Dubai to Mumbai, Haresh Satikumar conceals 1kg gold in specially made vest. He slips the ornaments into an inner pocket, which ends below his waist.
Officials find gold
ornaments - chains, bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants - inside the vest.
He arrives at Mumbai airport
on Friday at 4.30am. Carrying only a handbag, he crosses the green channel without declaring the gold. He is then stopped by Customs officials.
Satikumar is arrested
as is his accomplice who was waiting outside airport.

Smugglers save R1.6 lakh per kg of gold

Because of the festive season, people have started buying more gold.
president, bombay bullion association
MUMBAI: Despite best efforts of customs authorities, gold continues to be smuggled into the city. Jewellers say a section of the city’s jewellery market gets gold that has been ferried illegally.
"Some people may have been caught. But there could be many who have evaded authorities because a lot of gold purchased through illegal means is in the market," said Kumar Jain, vicepresident of Mumbai Jewellers' Association.
Jain said the stark difference in price of “official” and “unofficial” gold is what keeps smugglers in business.
Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association, says that with 4% import duty (on gold bars), and 1% value added tax (VAT), the difference between official and unofficial gold comes to Rs1.6 lakh per kg. Smuggled gold comes cheaper because the carriers evade import duty. Jain said that buying gold illegally saves jewellers import duty and VAT.
It’s not just the import duty. The steep rise in price of gold, helped by the high demand during the festival and marriage season, is tempting smugglers into making a quick buck.
"A few months ago, demand for gold was not much. But thanks to the festival season people have started buying gold," said Kothari.
Jain said Dubai is the smugglers' favourite because gold there is cheaper by Rs1,000 per 10gm as compared to Mumbai Also, the ornament making charges are a third of what they are in Mumbai. Jewellers fear that with gold prices expected to reach Rs33,500 per 10 gram during Diwali, smuggling wil become more rampant.


if brought in baggage by a regular passenger
on gold bars imported by licensed agents
on ornaments imported by licensed agents


With the festive season on and the wedding season set to begin in November, gold prices are rising. Jewellers expect gold to touch
R33,500 per 10gm by Diwali. With the spike in demand, gold is likely to be smuggled more aggressively. Jewellers say the increase in import duty on gold is one of the main reasons why the yellow metal is being smuggled in. Dubai is the source of choice for smugglers. Price for 10gm of gold in Dubai is around R1,000 less than what it is in Mumbai. Also, jewellerymaking charges in Dubai are onethird of what they are in Mumbai.



September 11
Customs officials arrested a utensils exporter, his wife and daughter while they were trying to smuggle 762gm gold worth R21.2 lakh. The family was returning from Dubai.

August 10 and 11
Two officials of the Central Industrial Securities Force
(CISF) were arrested for helping smugglers sneak in 10 kg gold, worth R 3 crore.

July 27
Customs authorities seized 233.28 gm gold, worth R6.55 lakh, while it was being smuggled into the city by a woman from Dubai. The officials recovered two gold bars from the woman’s bag.

July 17
A 26-yearold man was arrested while smuggling in 900
gram gold, in the form of 150 chains, from Dubai. The value of the seized gold is R22 lakh.

July 13
Two gold biscuits, each weighing 100gm, were recovered from a passenger who arrived from Dubai. The gold was estimated to be worth R5.46lakh.

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