The NIA is set to investigate many other consignments allegedly brought to India by the same gang thus far. Official sources said: “The NIA probing the gold smuggling case is a sensitive development. The agency will try to find out the kingpin of the racket and those who were buying smuggled gold.”
According to market sources, “the fear of the NIA investigation will help put a halt on smuggling activities, though they may resume once the matter cools down.”
With routine international flights not operating, cases of gold smuggling were already down, said official and market sources. In 2019, according to a Metal Focus report, 119 tonne of gold entered India illegally.
The impact of reduced gold smuggling is already visible in the market. With official gold import almost nil, investment demand rising, and stoppage of unaccounted gold supply, market price discount has gone.
Market sources said gold is smuggled usually for two types of customers: Retail, for whom carriers like tourists are used, and corrupt politicians and government officials, who buy from rackets similar to the one involved in the Kerala case.
“Gold smuggling in Kerala will certainly come to a halt for now. Smugglers are working like terrorist sleeper cells in which a layer has information only about the one above it. Finding out the kingpin would be difficult. Couriers only smuggle the gold into India and deliver it to a certain person and the chain continues. The NIA is investigating a case which has both national
and international links and the proceeds of smuggled gold could have been used for financing of terrorism in India,” said an official source tracking the developments.