Citizens' Issues
Gold seized at Vizag airport reveals new tactic by gangs
The seizure of 63 kg gold at Visakhapatnam international airport has revealed a new strategy adopted by smuggling gangs to conceal the yellow metal in consumer electronic goods and landing at less frequented airports.
 
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized the gold valued at Rs.16.85 crore from 56 passengers arriving from Malaysia and Singapore in the early hours of Monday.
 
DRI officials said Chennai-based gangs were bringing the precious metal in different shapes resembling the parts of the electronic goods, such as magnets in amplifiers, stand of speakers, central pulley of washing machine, rods of stand/trolley and magnets in transformer.
 
This was done in a meticulous way to avoid detection by customs officials through regular X-ray scanning of the baggage.
 
Investigations by DRI revealed that these couriers used to depart from Chennai airport to Malaysia or Singapore and return to less frequented airports with gold concealed in electronic goods or consumer durables such as music system, amplifiers, mini washing machine, electric oven, induction stove and television.
 
It was also found that the gangs were using large number of non-frequent passengers as couriers.
 
On specific intelligence, Chennai zonal unit of DRI with the assistance of DRI units at Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Customs Commissionerate, Visakhapatnam launched a major operation which began on Sunday night and continued till late Monday evening.
 
The operation resulted in huge haul of 63 kg of smuggled gold from three international flights - Air Asia 83 and Malindo 251, both from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Silk Air MI442 from Singapore.
 
The officials identified suspect passengers in the three flights which landed late Sunday night. Their baggage was segregated and scanned. 
 
"The suspect goods were categorized individually and detailed examination was done by breaking open the goods in the concealment area," said a statement by DRI.
 
The gold was brought in an illegal manner in violation of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and Baggage Rules, 1998. The officials were questioning 56 passengers.
 
"Necessary legal action under Customs Act, 1962 for offences committed in smuggling of gold has been contemplated and the further investigation is on," the statement said.
 
This is the biggest seizure of the yellow metal at Visakhapatnam airport and one of the biggest hauls in the country.
 
There has been a spurt in gold smuggling in recent years as the precious metal is being brought in illegally to avoid import duty.

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Karnataka moves SC against Jayalalithaa's acquittal
The Karnataka government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the state high court's May 11 verdict acquitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and others in a disproportionate assets case.
 
The Karnataka government has urged the apex court to stay the acquittal of Jayalalithaa, her aide Sasikala and others.

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Mother Teresa's successor Sister Nirmala is dead
Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, died here on Tuesday, sources at the catholic religious order's global headquarters Mother House said. She was 81.
 
Nirmala became the second head of the Missionaries of Charity after its head Mother Teresa stepped down from the post in March, 1997. 
 
Nirmala held the post till March 24, 2009, when she was succeeded by Sister Prema.
 
"She was sick for quite some time. She passed away at 12.05 a.m. today (Tuesday) at the convent where she used to stay in Sealdah," a source at the Mother House said.
 
Sister Nirmala was given India's second highest civilian order Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for her services to the nation.
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled Sister Nirmala's death.
 
"Saddened at the passing of Sister Nirmala who headed Missionaries of Charity after Mother Teresa. Kolkata and the world will miss her," she posted on Twitter.
 

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