JAIPUR: Jaipur airport seems to have caught the fancy of gold smugglers, as they are increasingly
using the airport as a transit route to smuggle gold. According to the data available with the customs
department, after a brief hiatus in 2017, at least 18 to 19kg of gold was seized by sleuths of customs
in 2018, which was worth nearly Rs seven crore in the Indian market.
On Sunday, sleuths seized 540grams of gold in biscuit form, which was concealed in the rectum by a
passenger travelling to Jaipur from Bangkok.
In 2015 and 2016, there was a sudden rise in the smuggling cases, in which Jaipur airport was used
as a transit route to smuggle gold in India. However, the year 2017 did not have any considerable
instances of such incidents. However, in the year 2018, smuggling cases from the airport surfaced
again, with nearly 18 to 19kg of gold being seized in that year (till January 2019), which was worth
nearly Rs seven crore.
On the spurt in smuggling, K K Singh, deputy commissioner, customs, talking to TOI, said, “There
are several factors involved, including the import duty. Also, those involved in smuggling of gold keep
changing the airports. In the year 2018, and even in January so far, a good amount of seizure was
made by us. Only deterrence to smuggling is seizures and arrests.”
Officials of customs department added that Bangkok is emerging as a new smuggling centre after
Dubai. “One of the reasons is that in India, import duty on gold is 10 percent and jewellers have been
demanding to cut it down to 4 percent. At this import duty, if a person is able to smuggle one kg of
gold, he has already earned a profit of Rs two lakh. This is the reason why there was a spurt in such
cases in the year 2018, which continues,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.
During investigation, it was found that even the Hawala traders, who operate between Bangkok
and rajasthan , could be the source of the surge in smuggling via Jaipur. “During interrogating one of
the passengers, it was also found that Hawala traders have started using gold instead of cash,” the
Everything including sandals, iron, fountain pen and even human rectum are being used by
smugglers to conceal gold in various forms, to smuggle into India.