Nagpur: With the Nagpur’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport gaining importance in world-wide air traffic, smuggling activities were also on the rise. In the past seven years, Customs Department at the Airport confiscated gold worth over Rs 4.96 crore between October 6, 2013 and January 10, 2020.
The information was provided by the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Air Customs Unit, in response to a query posed by activist Abhay Kolarkar under Right To Information (RTI) Act.
The RTI response revealed that there were two cases in which gold was seized in the year 2013, followed by three cases in 2014. The years 2015 and 2016 recorded only one case each, and there was no case in 2017. However, in 2018, the number of such cases rose to seven, followed by eight cases in the year 2019. In the current year 2020, till January 10, three cases have been recorded. The top three cases of gold seizure at Nagpur Airport were reported in 2014 and 2015.
According to the information procured by the RTI activist Kolarkar, gold weighing 3002.50 gms was seized on June 30, 2015. It was valued at Rs 74,61,212, the highest so far between 2013 and 2020. The second biggest seizure was of 2723 gms of gold worth Rs 56,36,059, reported on November 5, 2014. The third biggest seizure involved 1481.69 gms of gold valued at Rs 40,71,536/- on March 23, 2014. If one goes year-wise — for the period between October 6, 2013 and January 10, 2020 — the highest value of gold seized was reported in the year 2014. Then, gold worth Rs 1,37,74,048 was seized in three separate cases. It was followed by the year 2019, when the total value of gold seized in eight cases was Rs 96,58,662.
Based on the information, it seems that those bringing gold are resorting to carrying the same in smaller consignments as compared to the year 2014. Apart from gold, Air Customs Unit detained various other goods also during the above-mentioned period. These goods ranged from dagger to bangles to old/foreign currency notes to liquor bottles to cigarette packs.
In fact, on a few occasions, the Air Customs Unit detained television, laptops, mobile phones too. The detained goods as per Warehouse Stock Register are valued at Rs 67,73,270, and value of some of the detained goods is shown as ‘subject to verification’. Some goods detained in 2006 and 2008 also are yet to be valued and the value is shown as ‘subject to verification’, as per the RTI reply received by Kolarkar.