Acting on specific information that a sizable quantity of gold of foreign origin smuggled through the Indo-Bangladesh border of Meghalaya would be transported by car to Guwahati, Customs officers from Shillong made a seizure of more than Rs 1 crore of the precious metal.
Customs intercepted a Mahindra XUV 500 early on Saturday morning in Jhalupara here. The driver was based in Rangia, Assam, though originally hailing from West Bengal, an official press release informed today.
On interrogation, the suspect confessed that smuggled gold of foreign origin was in his possession. Thereafter, 14 gold biscuits, which were packed in two plastic pouches, were recovered. Their total weight was 1.63kg, which is valued at more than Rs 1.01 crore.
Specific details of a middleman who had handed him seven pieces were gathered and Customs officers intercepted the said person at Jhalupara. He further revealed that he had collected the gold from a woman at a shop at Iewduh.
A further operation at the said shop resulted in the recovery of Rs 9.5 lakh in cash, the proceeds of smuggled gold, which was also seized. The woman was also interrogated and it was revealed that the gold was smuggled across the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Further investigations are underway.
Meanwhile, in another case in the last one month, Customs officers in Shillong seized five gold biscuits weighing 582.70g from a person travelling in a Maruti 800 that was intercepted near Jorabat. This gold was smuggled across the international border at Bholaganj. Immediate follow-up at a house in Lumparing from which the gold was collected resulted in recovery of Indian currency amounting to Rs 3.96 crore, believed to be sale proceeds of smuggled gold, which was also seized. Further investigation is in progress.
The press release also encouraged members of the public to play their part in fighting cross-border crime, such as smuggling and money laundering, by giving information to Customs. Names of informers are kept confidential and they are eligible for financial rewards as well.