Mumbai Crime: Gold smuggling racket worth Rs 1,000 crore busted

Updated: 30 June, 2019 10:32 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

The syndicate used to import gold, declaring it as brass scrap and would unload the consignments at Jamnagar and Mundra ports in Gujarat

Representational image
Representational image

Directorate Revenue of Intelligence (DRI), probing the 110kg gold smuggling case which involved businessmen from Mumbai and Kerala, revealed that the gang smuggled more than 3,000kg of gold worth Rs1,000 crore in eight months. A DRI official stated that the accused smuggled gold in 24 consignments from July 2018 to March this year, when the racket was busted and 14 persons were arrested.

"During scrutiny, it transpired that the syndicate smuggled 3,396kg gold, which is one of the biggest seizures in recent years. Hence, the accused were detained under stringent sections of Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act (COFEPOSA)," revealed a source. As Bombay high court stated last week, COFEPOSA was not applicable on technical grounds, DRI will move the Supreme Court on Monday. Officials warned if the accused are released, they may smuggle gold again.

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DRI has confiscated Rs 2 crore, nine cars and 185kg gold worth Rs 60 crore. They will confiscate properties of the main people involved, jeweller 'Happy Dhakkad', Manoj Jain, financier Ashfaq Shiningwala, Dubai businessman Nisar Aliyar, hawala operator Aquil Fruitwala and Shoeb Zoradarwala. DRI arrested the 14th accused identified as Shiningwala, a key financier from Gujarat, who had invested Rs 9 crore in the racket on Thursday. The other main players are Dhakkad, Aliyar, Jain and Zoradarwala, it stated.

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The gang used to import gold, declaring it as brass scrap. They would unload the consignments at Jamnagar and Mundra ports in Gujarat, and then get transport it by road. DRI managed to seize 185kg of gold from the accused. Others members involved in the syndicate are Irsahad Bagasrawala, who aided and abetted Aliyar in transportation and disposal of gold in Zaveri Bazaar, Chetan Sojitra of Prachi Impex, who facilitated the smuggling and Jignesh Solanki, who helped store and transport the yellow metal to 'Happy Dhakad'.

According to Times of India, DRI later arrested Vimal Nariya, the proprietor of SM Corporation. Advocate Sujay Kantawala, on behalf of Nisar and Dhakkad said, "I cited judgements stating that the COFEPOSA guidelines were shown where it is advised by the ministry that there can't be a truncated manner of supply of documents."

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First Published: 30 June, 2019 10:18 IST

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