Published On: Fri, Jan 22nd, 2016

Gold theft forces customs to beef up security of its vaults

New Delhi: Citing serious concerns over instances of gold thefts from secure vaults, the customs authorities have been asked to strengthen security measures by posting honest officers and installing cameras to guard these strong rooms.

Najib Shah Chairman of  CBEC,   the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, Central Excise, Service Tax .

Najib Shah Chairman of CBEC, the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, Central Excise, Service Tax .

In guidelines issued recently, customs authorities have been asked to carry out quarterly inspection of seized valuables stored in the safe and take stock of all packages and condition of each package lying there.

Besides, it has barred the entry of any other person other than the custodian to the valuables godown unless otherwise authorised by the Commissioner of Customs, it said, adding that valuables should be kept in a strong room or in a locker in a nationalised bank.

The move comes as gold worth crores of rupees seized from smugglers has been mysteriously disappearing from highly- secured customs vaults at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here, and from a few other secure locations across the country.

A total of 23.6 kg of gold (worth Rs 6.28 crore as per prevailing market price) has gone missing from the customs vaults at the IGIA, the customs department had said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

In the recent past, the smuggling of high value goods, especially gold is on the rise, as evidenced by the increasing number of seizures made by Directorate General of Revenue Intelligence and the field formations.

“At the same time, there have been instances of loss or theft of gold and high value goods from the strong rooms or seized goods godowns reported by the field formations.

“Though, there are detailed guidelines for handling and storage of seized or detained and confiscated goods, the recent cases of loss and theft of valuables raise a serious concern over the way these guidelines are implemented by the field formations,” reads the guidelines issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

PTI

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