Kolkata: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a “corporate-style” smuggling syndicate and seized eight kg of gold, about 74 kg of silver jewellery and three kg of narcotics from a bus on way to Kolkata from Siliguri, an official statement said today.
The total value of the seized items is Rs. 3.31 crore and six people have been arrested in the case, it said.
Among those arrested is the mastermind of the smuggling racket and his nephew. The two were involved in a series of cases in which about 360 kg of gold valued at more than Rs. 108 crore was seized over the past five years, the statement said.
Investigations further revealed that the mastermind runs a very well-coordinated corporate-type smuggling “organisation”, with separate verticals or divisions handling finance and manpower (carriers of gold), it said.
This structure enabled the mastermind to remain incognito for the last five years or more, the DRI said.
The uncle-nephew pair was involved in ferrying huge quantities of smuggled gold from various bordering locations.
Based on inputs, a private bus, coming from Siliguri to Kolkata on Sunday, was intercepted at Dankuni toll plaza, the DRI said.
On search of the bus, eight kg of foreign origin gold, collectively valued at Rs. 2.71 crore, and Rs. 24,000 cash were seized.
“The gold was smuggled from Bhutan and was to be delivered at Kolkata,” the DRI said in the statement. Markings on the gold biscuits showed their country of origin as China, it said.
Silver jewellery, including bangles, rings, earrings, pendants, necklace etc, weighing 73.86 kg, valued at Rs. 59 lakh, and Rs. 31,000 were also seized from three people, the statement said.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the jewellery was smuggled into India through Bagdogra airport from Bangkok and cleared illegally, the probe agency said.
The search of the bus also led to the recovery of one unclaimed backpack containing about 3 kg of marijuana, which was seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Four people were arrested, the DRI said.
Preliminary investigation led the DRI to two addresses at Salt Lake and Bangur Avenue in search of two people said to be the masterminds of the attempted smuggling of gold.
During interrogation, one of the persons admitted to have arranged the purchase of the 8 kg gold from Bhutan and entrusted the same to the apprehended carrier for its delivery at Kolkata for a carrying charge of Rs. 6,000 per kg. His profit in the whole deal was supposed to be Rs. 50,000 per kg, the DRI said.
The gold was smuggled from different borders such as Indo-Bangaldesh, Indo-Burma, Indo-Bhutan by employing various carriers and middlemen.