MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): The statistics revealed in the State Assembly suggests spurt in gold smuggling at all the three major airports in Kerala-India’s southernmost state. According to state Home Ministry, involvement of international gold smuggling rackets is suspected for the sudden rise in gold smuggling incidents. Surprisingly, more women have been found involved in such acts during recent times.
According to Ministry data, a total of 432 people were taken into police custody for their alleged involvement in smuggling gold through the state’s three international airports during 2013-’15. A total of 547.32 kilogram of gold worth nearly INR 145 crore was seized during this period. The Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode reported the largest quantity of gold seizure. A total of 299.98 kilograms of gold were seized from there, followed by Nedumbassery International Airport, Kochi (195.95 kilograms) and Trivandrum International Airport (53.38 kilograms).
The sharp rise in gold smuggling has exposed the lack of adequate security at airports. The Ministry noted that presence of state police at airports would help to curb gold smuggling in a more effective manner. Currently, airports are under the control of Central agencies. The Ministry has forwarded a letter to the Central government to allow services of state police within airports.
Meantime, intelligence reports suggest that much of the gold smuggled through airports land up in local jewellery outlets. According to Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials, there has been a sudden rise in number of jewellery outlets during the past two years. Although, DRI has not received any concrete evidence against any of them, operations of these newly opened retail outlets are under scanner, they said. The Customs Department had conducted a raid at some of these outlets recently.