New Delhi: Customs authorities have seized 3,223 kg of gold worth Rs 974 crore in 2017-18, more than double the quantity seized in the previous financial year, according to a report.
As per the report by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), large part of the domestic gold market in India is being served by illicit smuggling of the metal.
“Gold smuggling has strong linkages to organised crime and international criminal syndicates. The total quantity of gold seized by Indian Customs in 2017-18 was 3,223 kg valued at Rs 974 crore, an increase of 103 per cent from 1,422 kg valued at Rs 472 crore seized in 2016-17,” it said.
Majority of seizures were made in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi, which are high consumption centres of smuggled gold, DRI’s Smuggling in India Report 2017-18 said.
It said bulk cash smuggling has also increased exponentially in 2017-18 and Indian Customs seized foreign currency worth Rs 89 crore primarily from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad airports.
Smuggling of foreign exchange is used to fund purchase of contraband goods such as gold, electronics, garments abroad, which is then smuggled into India.
There was also a marked increase in the number of seizures of drugs and psychotropic substances in 2017-18. The number of seizures increased to 78, from 64 in 2016-17, the report said.
“DRI seized 26,785 kg of ‘ganja’ in 2017-18 as compared to 16,197 kg in 2016-17. Ganja is mostly transported through commercial vehicles by concealments in false partitions, secret cavities and under cover cargo to avoid detection,” it said.
Also, there were 15 cases of seizure of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) booked by DRI in 2017-18 amounting to face value of Indian Rs 70.06 Lakh, it said.
DRI’s intelligence, and interceptions of goods violating Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) indicate that majority of these products originate in China.
The counterfeit goods enter the country through cargo by sea or air routes or through porous and off-routes through the land borders along Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar etc.
Counterfeit commodities most prone to smuggling in India are cosmetics, shoes, watches, sunglasses, auto parts like spark-plugs, handbags and mobile accessories.
In 2017-18, DRI seized 42.6 million smuggled cigarette sticks valued at Rs 34.29 crore, illicitly imported food supplements, anabolic steroids and hormone supplements valued at Rs 5.6 crore.
In 2017-18, DRI detected various types of commercial frauds including those related to mis-declaration, mis-invoicing, drawback fraud, misuse of Preferential/Free Trade Agreements, misuse of export incentive schemes such as EPCG, Advance Authorisation.
In 2017-18, DRI detected 940 cases of commercial fraud involving duty amount of Rs 3,064.65 crore.
In this period, an amount of Rs 1,743.01 crore was demanded as differential duty by issuing demand cum show cause notices.
An amount of Rs 1,517.4 crore was recovered by DRI during this period.