In an intelligence operation code-named “Molten Metal” by the Finance Ministry's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the agency has seized 85.535 kg smuggled gold and apprehended four foreign nationals. The foreign nationals belong to China, Taiwan, and South-Korea, and allegedly indulged in smuggling gold into India from Hong Kong using the air cargo route.
The intelligence agency said the accused smuggled gold in the form of machinery parts, which was being melted and moulded into bar or cylinder shapes before being disposed of in the local markets.
Acting upon the said intelligence, DRI officers examined an import consignment at Air Cargo Complex, Indira Gandhi International Airport. During the probe, it was found to have contained electroplating machines fitted with transformers.
The ‘EI’ laminates of the transformers were found to have been made of gold-coated with nickel, essentially to hide the identity of the gold. Around 1 kg of gold was recovered from each of the 80 imported electroplating machines.
In a swift follow-up operation, further recovery of 5.409 kg of foreign-origin gold smuggled into India earlier adopting a similar modus operandi, was made from a Delhi-based jeweller.
Further, during search operations conducted in several rented properties in Chattarpur and Gurugram, four foreign nationals (two from South Korea and one each from China and Taiwan) were found to be using sophisticated metallurgical techniques. They used to convert the smuggled gold in the form of ‘EI’ laminates into bar or cylindrical form for further distribution.
As per the agency, they were taking extreme precautions to keep the illegal nature of their activities hidden even from their immediate neighbours.
The recovered gold, weighing 85.535 kg, valued at around Rs 42 crore, has been seized. The four foreign nationals involved in the smuggling activities are being questioned, the agency said.
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