21 kg of Gold was seized at Hyderabad airport

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The seizure of 21 kg of jewels by customs officials at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport domestic air cargo complex in Hyderabad on Saturday is likely to open a can of worms. Also after the 24-hour seize, to the dismay of the officials, no one approached the officials to demand the confiscated shipment. At least a dozen jewelers, some of whom said they were major names on the market, are now under the scrutiny, it’s heard. If the gold confiscated, as much as 18 kg was contained in the form of gold jewellery. This involves silver-coated bracelets that signify the purpose to hide gold. Another 2 kg is in foreign-marked gold biscuits accused of being smuggled into the country. One kilogramme of diamond-set watches, diamonds and a Rolex wristwatch was among the confiscated materials. The case is recorded and, as the investigation is ongoing, central GST authorities have joined forces to prosecute the international movement of gold jewellery without any invoices. Officials from the Income Tax and Compliance Directorate are expected to launch a review of the tax avoidance and money laundering elements of gold trading.

Sources revealed that the consignment was picked up locally by delivery services. But for random names, phone numbers and places, no precise data are available. Sources told indianexpress.com that the senders of gold have been detected and action is underway. But for 700 grammes of gold which, according to officials, is extremely undervalued, no other invoice has been identified.

“In the case of foreign-marked bullion and gold-covered as silver-coated bracelets, we are very confident that they have been smuggled into the country. With respect to gold ornaments, we do not know the origins since they do not have any accompanying invoices. They may have been smuggled in gold, turned into jewels, and shipped to other cities. Most of the payments in the gold trade are in cash and thus these need to be studied by the agencies concerned, “said the source.

Gold imports, he said, are allowed only through agencies nominated by the RBI and through banks, which leave behind a trail of records and invoices for transactions. These invoices are also mandatory for interstate commerce.

It is the first time that authorities have come across such a shipment of gold being shipped to other cities by air freight. “Typically certain transactions involving interstate movements are carried out by the route. We have yet to figure out why postal facilities and air freight were being used in this situation, “he said. It must also be ascertained whether Mumbai was the final destination or whether the package was to be sent elsewhere.

On the basis of relevant inputs, the RGIA customs officials intercepted the shipment on Saturday.

‘Ornaments of gold, gold bars of foreign origin and split bits of 999 value, loose gems, precious and semi-precious stones, stainless steel clocks, platinum tops and rare coins without sufficient paperwork. The gross weight of the gold bars recovered shall be 2.37 kilogrammes. The gross weight of gold ornaments confiscated shall be 5.63 kilogrammes. The cumulative worth of the shipments intercepted is Rs 6,62,46,387, “said the press release.

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