By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW):The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has cracked down on a sophisticated syndicate involved in gold smuggling via the sea route from Sri Lanka ring.
India has recovered 32 kilograms of gold dumped at sea while being smuggled to Sri Lanka.The gold was recovered in a joint operation involving the Coast Guard, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs.
The gold, valued at Indian Rs 20.2 crore, was being smuggled from India to Sri Lanka, an official release said.
The seizure was a result of a specific input from the DRI regarding smuggling of contraband between Sri Lanka and India, following which a joint operation was launched by Indian Coast Guard and DRI on May 30.
Underwater divers salvaged the precious metal from under the sea after the smugglers threw it aboard while being pursued by officials of the agencies.
A joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Customs has foiled an attempt to smuggle gold bars weighing 32.689kg into India, via the sea route from Sri Lanka.
Launched on Tuesday 30th May, this operation was carried out based on specific input from DRI regarding the smuggling of contraband from the island nation to India.
In anticipation of the smuggling attempt, Indian agencies maintained close surveillance of fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Mannar and those near the India-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
The agencies apprehended two boats – a suspicious boat approaching the Mandapam fishing harbour in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district and another suspicious vessel south of Mandapam.
The sea route between northern Sri Lanka and the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, India, is highly porous and has a lot of fishing activity.
In a matter of a few hours and a few dozen kilometres, it is possible to cross over the IMBL and reach the waters of the other side.
The first boat attempted to evade the agencies and then dumped the consignment overboard before its three-member crew was apprehended by the agencies.
Upon interception, the second boat was said to have 21.269 kgs of smuggled gold and its two-member crew was taken into custody.
To recover the consignment that was dumped overboard by the first vessel, the Indian Coast Guard launched a diving operation at the site and recovered the gold consignment from the seabed, on Thursday. It contained gold bars weighing 11.6 kg.
The entire seized consignment is valued at Rs. 20.20 crore or $2.5 million. The seized contraband and suspects are in DRI custody for legal action.