The most recent data released by India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) indicates that gold smuggling volumes skyrocketed in the country during 2014-2015. The DRI statistics indicate that gold smuggling incidents have risen sharply over the past two years.
A total of 4,400 gold smuggling cases were reported during FY 15. The number of registered cases have witnessed significant rise when compared with the 2,700 cases reported in 2014-2015 and 870 cases reported in 2013-2014. Also, 252 people were arrested in connection with gold smuggling during 2014-2015, DRI data indicate.
The quantity of gold seizures witnessed unprecedented increase of nearly 62% year-on-year to 4,480 kilograms in 2014-2015, as against the 2,760 kilograms seized the year before. The total value of seized gold amounted to Rs 1,120 crore in FY 15 as against the Rs 690 crore seized during the previous fiscal year.
According to DRI statistics, legal gold imports to the country witnessed sharp rise during the past two years on account of increased domestic demand growth. During 2014-2015, 1,332 metric tons gold worth Rs 2.67 lakh crore was imported during 2014-2015. This is in comparison with the total gold imports of 616 metric tons during 2013-2014. The value of gold imports during FY 14 had totaled Rs 1.55 lakh crore.
Despite the sharp rise in official gold imports into the country, gold smuggling attempts have only increased. Bullion industry experts believe that seizures account only for a small portion of the overall gold smuggling business, as huge quantities of gold still flows through unofficial channels.
DRI officials predicts rise in official gold imports into the country on account of anticipated high demand growth. The widening demand-supply gap may result in further rise in gold smuggling too.
Zhejiang Yaang Pipe Industry Co., Limited (www.yaang.com)