The DRI has arrested five Hong Kong-bound foreign nationals at the Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out of India nearly half-a-million USD, officials said on Saturday.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the enforcement arm of the Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC), on Wednesday intercepted the five passengers, all from Taiwan, at the Terminal 3 of IGI Airport, they said.
The five were about to depart for Hong Kong.
An examination of their checked-in baggage resulted in the recovery of USD 4,49,600 equivalent to Rs 3,25,51,040 which they were attempting to smuggle out of India, the officials said.
The foreigners, who arrived at New Delhi from Hong Kong on August 25, confessed to be a part of a larger syndicate involved in smuggling of foreign origin gold into India and smuggling out of sale proceeds (foreign currency) out of India, they said.
The recovered foreign currency was seized and the five were arrested under the provisions of the Customs Act.
The accused were on Thursday produced by the DRI before a court which sent them to judicial custody for 14 days, the officials said.
According to the DRI, in the last three years there has been a significant increase in the number of persons belonging to organised smuggling gangs engaged in smuggling of gold into India and foreign currency out of India.
During the financial year 2018-19, 210 foreign nationals were arrested for smuggling of gold into India and 35 foreign nationals were arrested for smuggling out foreign currency by the DRI and Customs field formations, the officials said.
In the current financial year 2019-20 (from April till June 2019), 61 foreign nationals were arrested in smuggling of gold and 18 foreign nationals were arrested in smuggling of foreign currency, they said.
In the financial year 2018-19, a quantum of 4,058 kgs of smuggled gold and foreign currency (mostly USD, Pound and Euro) equivalent to Rs 164 crore was seized by the DRI and other Customs field formations, the officials said, adding that in the current financial year 2019-20 (till June 2019), about 1,198 kgs of smuggled gold has been seized by the Customs.