New Delhi, Nov 12 (PTI) At least 110 kg of gold has been seized from smugglers at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here from January till October this year, a senior customs official said today.
Though the number of gold smuggling cases registered this year by the customs is slightly more than last year’s figure, the quantity of gold seized is 78 kg less compared to the total seizure made in 2016, the official said.
The official credited demonetisation for the decline in smuggling of gold.
A total of 114 cases of smuggling were registered by the customs between January and October at the airport, he said.
In these cases, 110 kg of gold, valued at about Rs 37 crore, was seized, the official said, adding that 62 smugglers were arrested in these cases for their alleged involvement in illegal ferrying of the yellow metal.
In 2016, 110 cases were registered by the customs in which a whopping 188 kg gold, valued at Rs 48 crore, was seized, he said.
Seventy-nine people were arrested for their alleged involvement in gold smuggling by the customs last year, the official said.
Gold smuggling has taken a hit due to demonetisation as ‘hawala’ transactions, used to bring the yellow metal into the country, was completely stopped, he claimed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8, 2016, a ban on old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The demand of gold has been traditionally high in the country as people prefer to invest in it for better returns.
Nearly 355 cases of gold smuggling were reported at the international airport in the financial year 2015-2016.
In these cases, authorities had seized 450 kg of gold, valued at a whopping Rs 132 crore, the customs official said.
As many as 190 people were arrested in these cases.
About 240 cases of gold smuggling were reported in 2016- 17 fiscal. About 260 kg of gold, valued at Rs 76.31 crore, was seized by the customs at the Delhi airport, he said.
As many as 100 people were arrested in these cases, the official said.
The seizure is also the result of stepped up surveillance at the airport to check smuggling.
The customs officials maintain high vigil at the Delhi airport as it is one of the entry points in the country which registers maximum number of cases of gold smuggling.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.