Shillong, Sep 25: In a significant operation, the Department of Customs apprehended three individuals involved in the illegal sale of gold on Saturday in Shillong, leading to the seizure of gold biscuits valued at a staggering ₹1 crore.
Acting on a tip-off regarding the illicit cross-border gold trade originating from Meghalaya’s India-Bangladesh border and facilitated by a vehicle from Guwahati, officers from the Commissioner of Customs Preventive (CCP), Shillong, intercepted a Mahindra XUV 500 on Sunday morning in Jhalupara, Shillong.
Among those captured was an individual who claimed to hail from Rangia, Assam, but was, in fact, from West Bengal. Upon interrogation, he confessed to possessing gold smuggled from Bangladesh. Subsequently, customs officials conducted a thorough search and confiscated 14 gold biscuits concealed in a plastic bag. The seized gold weighed approximately 1632.450 grams, with an estimated value of ₹1,01,78,326, as per the CCP’s statement.
Further investigations revealed that a middleman was attempting to secure seven gold biscuits but was apprehended by CCP officers in Jhalupara. The middleman admitted to acquiring the gold biscuits from a woman at Iewduh, Shillong.
In a subsequent probe, the Customs Department seized ₹9.5 lakh, believed to have been used in purchasing the smuggled gold. After thorough questioning, the woman disclosed that the gold had been illegally transported into the country from the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Three individuals have been arrested, and an ongoing investigation is in progress, according to the CCP.
Notably, in a case registered the previous month, CCP officers in Shillong apprehended a man in Jorabat in possession of five gold biscuits weighing 582.70 grams. These gold bars were destined for Bholaganj, located at the Indo-Bangladesh border. A swift follow-up operation led to the discovery of ₹3.96 crore in cash, believed to be the proceeds from the illegal gold sales. This case remains under investigation.
The CCP emphasised its commitment to combating illegal activities in border areas, such as drug smuggling, wildlife trafficking, and money laundering. They encouraged individuals to provide tips to assist in these efforts, promising to protect their anonymity and even exempt them from paying income tax as a reward.
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