Has Gold Smuggling Revived Through The Sri Lanka-Tamil Nadu Sea Route?123 gold bars were recovered by the DRI. (Laurence Griffiths via Getty Images)

Looks like the old gold smuggling route of Sri Lanka-India sea route has been revived. This route was the most preferred for gold smuggling until the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

But now with traditional routes through Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan cut off with the Government there raising import duties, the Sri Lankan-Indian sea route has gained prominence. This route was partially revived in 2013-14 when the Indian Government curbed gold imports with the stipulation that 20 per cent of gold imported by anyone should be imported in value added form.

According to the Times of India, over 50 kgs of gold, originating from Sri Lanka, have been seized by the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in the last one month in Tamil Nadu. In the current fiscal, over 100 kg of gold have been seized by DRI officials.

The latest seizure of gold was at Chennai’s Egmore Railway station, where DRI officials seized 23.1 kg of gold from a passenger, who had 123 gold bars with him. The person had come to Egmore by Rameswaram-Chennai Sethu Express. The apprehended person, who has been arrested, said the gold was allegedly brought into India from Sri Lanka by boat.

A 10 per cent import duty on gold makes smuggling of gold into India lucrative.

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