The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has arrested two employees of city-based jewellery firms — Ruchita Jewellers and Mahalaxmi Traders — for allegedly smuggling 12 kg gold worth Rs 6.25 crore into the city from Kolkata.
The agency arrested Praveen Jain and Mahendra Gangaram Bhave from Borivali station in Mumbai on November 22, after they deboarded the train arriving from Kolkata. According to the DRI, the two accused carried 15 pieces of the yellow metal of foreign origin hidden in customised cotton jackets (bundi) under their shirts. The gold, according to the agency, has been smuggled from Bangladesh and Myanmar into India.
Investigation into the alleged smuggling racket has found that the two accused were sent to Kolkata at least ten times this year to bring in smuggled gold. According to the remand application of the DRI, the two accused were paid Rs 20,000 per trip, apart from the train and flight tickets, to bring in gold to Mumbai. The accused have told the DRI that the promoters of the two firms have been dealing in smuggled gold “to increase the turnover and profit” of the companies.
“Both the respondents (Jain and Bhave) have admitted to dealing with smuggled gold…They have admitted that they have successfully brought smuggled gold in similar fashion on several occasions in the past. Their actions have resulted in the loss of revenue to the exchequer and are threatening the economic security of the nation,” said the DRI application.
In September, the duo smuggled 6 kg gold into Mumbai, using the same route, said the agency. According to the DRI, Bhave has told the agency that he knew bringing in gold without documents was illegal but he opted for it as the money offered by his employer for bringing in smuggled gold was good.
The two accused have told the agency that gold smuggled from Myanmar or Bangladesh comes in the form of biscuits to India. These are then melted at Kolkata to remove the foreign markings and sold in the market on a cash basis. The court has remanded Jain and Bhave to judicial custody.
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