Pune: An alert has been sounded across the Customs Department after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) issued a circular that gold could be smuggled through Inland Container Depots (ICDs). The Pune region of Customs has two main container depots at Talegaon and Dighi.
According to officials of Pune Customs, the alert was issued at all international airports and land and sea borders to intensify measures to check gold smuggling as the demand for gold has risen recently. The move follows a three-fold jump in cases of gold smuggling since the beginning of this fiscal year compared to the same period last year.
DRI has issued an alert for all international transit points across the country to step up their vigil to check the smuggling of gold, sources said. “The circular warns of a new modus operandi in smuggling of gold, which includes soft drink bottles, household items and footwear. The smugglers are using new ways to smuggle gold into the country,” said a highly placed officer of the Pune Customs Department.
“Pune region has two main ICGs at Talegaon and Dighi. Our officials are on alert at both depots. The containers come to these depots from the port and then these containers are sent to ICD centres.
In Pune, both centres check containers coming directly from the port. Containers are being used for smuggling gold into the country and its also being hidden inside machinery,” said the official.
Smuggling of gold rose sharply in 2013 after the government raised gold import duty from 2 per cent to 10 per cent in stages to contain a ballooning current account deficit and a falling rupee.
Sources said the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has been actively pursuing cases against those apprehended besides keeping a close vigil on suspicious cargo at air and seaports.