Smuggling of Myanmarese gold also flourishing

At a time when the focus is on smuggling of Myanmarese supari (dried areca nut) to some parts of India via the Mizoram-Assam (Vairangte-Cachar) route, it has come to the light an illicit trade is flourishing involving gold smuggled from the Southeast Asian country.

Informed sources have told The Sentinel that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) made significant seizures of smuggled Myanmarese-origin gold in the Northeastern region during 2020-2021.

In all, 239.5 kg of Myanmarese-origin gold was seized by DRI sleuths from different locations in the North-East during this period. Interestingly, the places where the seizures were made include Guwahati and Dimapur in Nagaland.

According to the sources, the biggest haul was made in Guwahati about two years ago when DRI officials intercepted a Toyota Innova near Khanapara here and recovered Myanmarese-origin gold hidden on the floor and gearbox cavity of the vehicle. They found 25 bundles, each containing 20 gold biscuits. The seized gold weighed 82.98 kg and was valued at Rs 42.71 crore.

Three persons had been arrested in this connection, the sources said. The sources said that the smugglers use ingenious ways to transport the gold. In some cases, people have been found wearing makeshift belts around their waist underneath their closes. However, the cleverest ways of hiding the smuggled gold involve cars, trucks and even two-wheelers.

According to the sources, the stoppage of rail transportation due to the Coronavirus pandemic first induced the smugglers to choose the road route for their contraband cargo. As a result, some of the gold seizures have been made from cars travelling from the Northeast and Bangladesh to consumption centres such as New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, the sources added.

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