The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has seized 44 kgs of gold, valued at about Rs 12.5 crore, smuggled into the country from Dubai using the sea route-- a modus operandi followed by smugglers in the 1970s.
Acting on intelligence, DRI officials made the seizure yesterday after intercepting atruck coming from the Mundra Port, Gujarat, in Chander Vihar area of Delhi.
A DRI release issued today said, the agency recovered 44 kg foreign marked gold of .995 purityconcealed in metallic packing case of poultry egg incubator being imported by the smugglers.
The gold bars were wrapped in a thick silver grey paper smeared in adhesive to prevent metallic sound during movement, the DRI release said, adding, it was almost impossible to be detected during routine examination at gateway port.
"One poultry egg incubator was beingimported in every consignment along with few disassembled poultry egg brooder panel," said the release.
It said the smugglers were bringing in around 40-50 kgs of foreign marked gold bars concealed in the metallic case (used as packing material) each time.
Since the market price of gold fluctuates on a daily basis, smugglers normally prefer the air route to smuggle it into India.
Preliminary investigations, however, reveal that this year alone, the racket members have smuggled about 300 kgs of gold from Dubai, worth nearly Rs 90 crore, using the sea route, it said.
"They (the metallic case package) were subsequently retrieved by smugglers using cutter and drill machines to immediately sell it in the grey market," the press release issued said.
Searches were also conducted on a residential premise as well as factoryof the importer which led to the recovery of several incriminating evidence, proof of previous smuggling and huge amount of hawala transaction to Dubai, it said.
Quantum of smuggling in the previousyears is yet to be ascertained, it said.
In the seventies and eighties, gold used to be smuggled through the sea route using country boats (Arab Dhows) or containerised cargo.
The DRI has busted this modus operandi of smuggling of gold in containers after several years.
The releases said that the importer has been arrested while his associates and the driver have been summoned for further investigation.