New Delhi: Indian law enforcement officials have reportedly intercepted two fishing boats and confiscated 32.869 kg of gold worth approximately 200 million Indian Rupees.
According to Indian media reports, the stock of gold had been smuggled into India from Sri Lanka.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), in collaboration with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Mandapam & Ramnad Customs, Preventive Division had intercepted the two fishing boats.
“Specific intelligence was developed by DRI, Chennai, that foreign origin gold is being smuggled from Sri Lanka through Vedhalai coast in Ramnad (TN) by different gangs using fishing boats. Accordingly, the DRI officers mounted extensive coastal surveillance with the help of ICG and identified the suspected fishing boats,” the Indian finance ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry, one of the suspected fishing boats was intercepted by a team of DRI officers and Coast Guard officers after a chase in the sea.
“During the course of interception, the persons in the fishing boat dropped the contraband parcel into the sea. The contraband parcel containing 11.6 kg of foreign origin gold valued at Rs. 7.13 crore was retrieved from the seabed with the help of Coast Guard expert divers and the same was seized along with the boat used for smuggling the gold,” it said.
Meanwhile, a second suspected fishing boat was also identified by Indian authorities.
Thereafter, the DRI Officers boarded an Indian customs patrol boat and approached towards the suspected fishing boat and saw from a distance that inmates of the boat were handing over a parcel to two receivers waiting on the shore.
“On spotting the Indian Customs boat fast approaching them from the sea side, both the receivers tried to escape into dark by running away with the smuggled gold. The officers chased the receivers in the dark and nabbed them,” the ministry said.
Upon examination, eight packets of gold were discovered inside a jacket carried by the apprehended individuals.
A detailed inspection led to the recovery of 21.269 kg of foreign origin gold valued at Rs. 13.08 crore from the individuals.
The seized gold, along with the boat and a two-wheeler used in the smuggling operation, were confiscated by the authorities.
Further investigations are currently underway to uncover additional details regarding the smuggling network and individuals involved in the illegal activity.
With inputs from Indian media outlets