Glitter bug bites, gold smuggling on rise
Amritsar: A 24-carat gold biscuit weighing 10 grams costs Rs 30,000 to Rs 31,600 in India, whereas it is available for Rs 27,000 to Rs 28,000 in Dubai. If one evades 10 per cent duty imposed on gold import, one can make more than Rs 2.81-lakh profit on 1-kg gold.Hefty profit, availability of cheap couriers and absence of stringent laws are the reasons for the thriving gold smuggling racket in India.After enforcement agencies tightened the noose at Kochi and Chennai airports in recent years, two international airports of Punjab — Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar, and Chandigarh International Airport — have become the hotspots for gold smuggling. Nepal and Bangladesh borders are the preferred land routes.Dipak Kumar Gupta, Commissioner, Customs (Preventive), says the trend of gold smuggling prevalent during mid-80s is gaining currency again.Legally, a woman passenger can carry jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh and a man can carry jewellery worth Rs 40,000. To evade 10 per cent duty on gold, passengers try to sneak in gold jewellery coated with silver or rhodium.In the past fortnight, gold worth Rs 1.85 crore was seized from the two airports.In 2017-18 (up to July 3, 2018), gold weighing 23.02 kg (valuing Rs 6.41 crore) was seized from the Amritsar airport, whereas in 2016-17, the seizure was 5.15 kg worth Rs 1.47 crore.