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Here's what happens to illegal gold seized at airport terminals

Ever wondered what happens to all the illegal gold seized at the airport terminals by the customs officials? mid-day gives you an insight into the journey of the confiscated stash from the possession of the customs officials to its sale as legal yellow metal

Once an illegal consignment of gold is confiscated from a smuggler, it is despatched to the strong room of the customs department at the T2 until the matter is forwarded to the adjudicating authority.

Later, a show-cause notice is issued to the person, who is expected/asked to submit his or her reply to the customs. After the officer issues directives, a disposal order is issued by the seizing unit (AIU) to the disposal department of customs, and the disposal procedure commences.

Becoming legitimate
The gold is sealed and transported from the strong room to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mint, where it is smelted and converted into standard gold bars of 999.95 purity. The RBI resends the gold to the customs department.

A customs official said, “As per the procedure, it is ensured that the gold is handled with extra care.” Giving an example, he explained, “If 20 kilograms of gold is to be sent to the mint, an official note informing the bank is despatched beforehand. After the yellow metal is delivered to them, bank officials send us a note confirming that the said quantity of gold has been received.”

Sold!
The gold bars are then forwarded to the bullion branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) for sale via auctioning process. Explaining the process, a customs officials said, “The SBI floats tenders and all the registered bidders can take part in the auction. They submit their bids to confirm their participation.

The bidder with the highest submission walks away with the gold on the payment of amount. After deducting its service charge, the bank remits the net amount to the customs.”

Disposal of seized drugs
In case the consignment hauled by the customs officials comprises drugs, then instead of a departmental authority (as in the case of gold) the case is heard and decided by the court. Following court’s directives, the confiscated consignment is taken to Taloja for destruction at the official waste disposal plant of the govt-appointed agency, Mumbai Waste Management Ltd, to be reduced to ashes.

323 kg
Amount of gold seized in April and June

535 kg
Amount of gold seized by customs officials from January to June

999.9
Purity attained by confiscated gold after smelting

Metamorphosis: from illegal to Legal

>> Illegal gold (bars, uncut pieces, jewellery) is seized from a passenger

>> The passenger is taken into custody if the gold is worth over Rs 1 crore, or gets bails if the net worth of the consignment is between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore. The gold is then shifted to the strong room at T2 until the case is forwarded to the adjudicating authority. Upon receiving directives from the authority, a disposal order is issued by the seizing unit (AIU) to the disposal department of customs, and disposal procedure commences

>> The gold is sealed and sent to the RBI mint where it is smelted and converted into standard gold bars of 999.95 purity

>> The consignment is re-sent to the customs, which then sends it to the bullion branch of State Bank of India for auctioning

>> Bidder who pays the highest amount gets the gold bars

>> The SBI, after deducting its service charge (approx 1%), remits the net amount to customs after the completion of auctioning process

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