Friday, 28 February 2014

Gold smugglers try innovative ways to bring yellow metal

India's effort to curb gold imports and consumption is forcing smugglers to think of more innovative ways to bring in gold through airports escaping the eye. 

Flower vases, iron box, shoes,vanity bags are some of the unusual places where customs officials have found gold concealed, according to a report in the The Hindu. The officials said that similar concealment technques were in vogue in the pre-reform era prior to 1991 when gold import restrictions were in place.

Customs officials remember finding gold concealed in the motors of washing machines, or even the thin rods of umbrellas. The tricks used to smuggle gold into a pre-liberalisation India made a comeback last year with the hike in the duty on import of gold to 10 per cent of the value, The Hindu report added.

Meanwhile, more reports are emerging about the collusion between some senior customs officials and smugglers in bringing more gold illegally into the country. A customs Superintendent in Mumbai airport, Abhay Chaudaray was arrrested the other day as he was seen to be closely associated with smugglers. According to Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), he was found to have committed the offence atleast eight times which went unnoticed.

India has been outclassed by China to become the world's largest consumer of gold in 2013 but India continues to consume close to 900 tons which is inclusive of smuggled gold. However, there have been varying estimates of smuggled gold and conservatively it has been put at 150 tons.

Despite strong pressure from the gems and jewellery industry, P Chidambaram, India's Finance Minister has so far refused to bring down the import duty from 10% for gold bars by atleast 2%. Jewellery attracts an import duty of 15% currently. Chidambaram claimed that India Government was able to reduce current account deficit (CAD) from a record $88 bn in 2012-13 to below $50 bn levels in current financial mainly on account of import restrictions on gold.

No comments:

Post a Comment