Spurt in gold smuggling from Colombo after the ethnic war got over in Sri Lanka has forced some officials in Indian customs intelligence to believe that a lot of illegally-held gold is being smuggled out of the island nation.
“It is possible that someone had found LTTE’s gold reserve which is now being smuggled out in slow manner,” sources said.
Since January this year, the customs and DRI officials had made 29 seizures of smuggled gold at the Chennai airport. Out of this, 22 were from air passengers arrived from Colombo.
Earlier smuggling gold from Dubai and Singapore to Chennai was very rampant. “But now we see a sudden change in pattern. AS high as 75 per cent of gold smugglers are arriving from Colombo, a place, which is not a big commercial hub and it is also not a location from where gold is available in abundance,” a customs official noted.
The increase in cases of smuggling from Colombo had forced the customs intelligence to look into the pattern seriously and enquiries by them had indicated that somebody was trying to push illegally stashed to India where gold is always in demand.
There were unconfirmed reports which said that the during the war between LTTE and Lankan army, the defence force had found 6,000 kg of gold kept as reserve by the Tigers.
“Maybe a huge quantity of gold detected had gone to the hands of private persons who are sending it to India,” sources in customs department said.
It is also believed that the gold ornaments collected from the dead bodies of Tamil women killed by the Lankan army during the war could be also finding it way to India through smugglers.
“In most cases we found the smugglers from Colombo brings in 24 carat gold in biscuit or in melted form. We found a Lankan woman carrying an umbrella with its central pole made of gold. It was painted in black. Similarly another Lankan passenger was found carrying a trolley bag with its handle made of gold.
“We know only what we have seen or detected. But we are sure a lot of gold must have reached through various south Indian cities from Colombo in one form or the other without being noticed by the enforcement agencies,” sources added. (Asian Age)