In one of its largest ever gold seizure, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized 106.9 kg of gold from several parts of Mumbai over the last two days.
Seven persons have been arrested and were sent to judicial custody till April 11 on Friday. Besides the gold, Rs 1.81 crore in cash was also recovered from the offices and residences of the accused.
Following a tip-off on Thursday, the DRI initially recovered 75 kg of gold — concealed in the shape of discs — from a scooter and a car, which were used for smuggling.
According to a statement issued by the DRI, it received information that a syndicate was involved in the smuggling of foreign origin gold in various forms — ropes, wires, rods and discs of various weights — into India by concealing it in imported consignments. “The DRI laid a trap in Dongari and intercepted two vehicles. After a search, 30 kg gold was found in a scooter and another 45 kg in a four-wheeler,” the release added.
Driver Abdul Ahad Zarodarwala, passenger Shoeb Zarodarwala, and scooter rider Shaikh Abdul Ahad were arrested. Abdul Ahad and Shaikh Abdul are employees of Shoeb Zarodarwala, officials said. The DRI later arrested Nisar Aliyar, reportedly the supplier of the smuggled gold; Manoj Jain and Happy Dhakad, who used to buy the gold; and Aquil Fruitwala, a hawala operator.
After their arrests, raids were carried out at the offices of the accused, in which the rest of the gold was recovered. Also, while Rs 40 lakh in cash was recovered from the Zarodarwalas, Rs 68 lakh was recovered from Manoj Jain.
DRI officials said that Shoeb and Abdul have claimed that they received more than 200 kg of foreign origin gold, which was smuggled into India, from Nisar Aliyar. The smuggled gold was sold in the wholesale market for commission through Manoj Jain.
“As payment for the smuggled gold, Rs 12 crore was sent to Dubai via non-banking channels by Aaquil Fruitwala,” a DRI official said. The money was routed to Dubai through hawala.
Nisar Aliyar, said to be the kingpin of the racket, in his statement to the DRI, has claimed that he smuggled more than 200 kg of foreign origin gold into India from Dubai by concealing it in containers with brass scrap.