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Indo –Sri Lanka gold smuggling racket continues in both countries

In a joint operation, the Indian Coast Guard along with India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai, seized a gold consignment of 17.74 Kg worth approximately INR 105 million from Mandapam seashore in Tamil Nadu while the consignment was being smuggled from Sri Lanka by sea route.

According to an official statement on Thursday, based on intelligence input from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Chennai, Indian Coast Guard Station Mandapam deployed a joint team onboard Interceptor Boat (IB) C-432 on February 7.

“The team maintained surveillance in the Gulf of Mannar for two days for any suspicious activity. On the night of February 08, the IB boarded a suspicious boat which was trying to escape at high speed to evade interception.

On rummaging the boat, the suspected contraband was not found and it was suspected that the same was thrown overboard during interception,” the statement said.

A diving operation was conducted by the ICG team in the probable area and a consignment of 17.74 kg of gold was recovered from the sea bed.

The fishing boat along with 3 crew members have been handed over to Coastal Security Group, Mandapam for further legal action.

Authorities in Sri Lanka have limited the import of gold jewellery to 22 carats per person in a bid to curb illegal gold smuggling operations.

A special permit is now required for any individual to enter Sri Lanka carrying gold jewellery weighing more than 22 carats.

Sri Lanka remains in the midst of economic chaos with inflation reaching a record of 70 per cent. Months of significant food shortages, as well as a lack of access to medicine, fuel, and electricity have plagued the country.

State minister of finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that approximately 50 kilograms of gold is smuggled into Sri Lanka each day. The cost of these practices was estimated at $US360 million annually.

The report also revealed details of a police raid in early December which led to the recovery of 22 kilograms of gold, the second largest gold smuggling seizure in Sri Lankan history.

Sri Lanka remains in the midst of economic chaos with inflation reaching a record of 70 per cent. Months of significant food shortages, as well as a lack of access to medicine, fuel, and electricity have plagued the country.

An international racket of smuggling gold to Sri Lanka in connivance with airport staff has been busted following the two largest gold detections in history by Sri Lanka Customs at the Bandaranaike International Airport last year

An Airport maintenance worker and a passenger were arrested with 26 kilograms of gold worth nearly Rs. 320 million.

Customs Spokesperson stated that this was the largest single haul of gold seized by Sri Lanka Customs.

The previous attempt to smuggle gold was made 26 days ago when 161 biscuits of gold weighing 17 kilograms were apprehended on the 4th of April 2022 . The value of these gold biscuits was estimated to be over Rs. 220 million.

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