Having failed to recover pending dues worth crores in the last two years, IGI Airport’s Customs department has formed a “recovery team” to get their money from 163 offenders who haven’t deposited the fine yet. A senior official in the Customs department said they recently scrutinised old case files and discovered that many cases were pending because the accused hadn’t responded. “The issue was later discussed with senior officials of the department, and the top brass decided to form the recovery team,” the official said.
IGI Airport is connected with 70 international cities and sees arrival of 25,000 passengers every day. In 2015-16, the Customs department had detected 350 cases of gold smuggling and seized 450 kg of gold, worth Rs 115 crore. In 2016-17, the number of cases reduced to 250, and 260 kg of gold was confiscated.
Officials said a list with details of the accused has been handed to the team, and they have been asked start recovering dues from them. “The recovery team has been asked to first meet them and serve a notice, asking them to join the investigation and deposit the penalty. If they don’t respond, their properties may be attached,” an officer said. Most of the accused, the official said, are not smugglers but rather people who aren’t aware of Customs rules and regulations. Many had purchased gold from abroad and were caught by Customs officials for not carrying bills or proper documents.
An official said India is the biggest buyer of gold in the world. The average profit made from per kg of smuggled gold is about Rs 2.5-3.5 lakh, the official added.