Mandapam, Tamil Nadu:
Indian official stated that consignment was being smuggled into India from Sri Lanka.(Representational)
A joint operation launched by the Indian Coast Guard with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs resulted in the seizure of 32.689 kgs of gold, valued at approximately Rs 20.2 crore, from two fishing boats at Gulf of Mannar area in Tamil Nadu, stated an official release on Thursday.
The release issued by the Indian Coast Guard stated that the consignment was being smuggled into India from Sri Lanka.
Based on specific input from DRI about the smuggling of gold from Sri Lanka to India, a joint operation was launched by Indian Coast Guard and DRI on May 30. The joint teams deployed by both agencies kept close surveillance on fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Mannar, especially near the Indo-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
On May 30 morning, the joint team from Indian Coast Guard and DRI detected a suspicious boat approaching the Mandapam fishing harbour.
"When challenged, the boat tried to evade apprehension but was finally apprehended in the northern Gulf of Mannar. While being chased, the suspects threw the consignment into the water prior to interception. The boat was seized and 3 suspects were apprehended and taken into custody for investigation," the release stated.
Simultaneously, a major diving operation was launched by the Coast Guard to search for the illegal gold dumped at sea, it added.
The statement said, "A separate team from DRI apprehended a second suspicious boat off Vadalai village south of Mandapam. The boat had about 21. 269 kgs of smuggled gold, which was seized by DRI along with two suspects who were taken into custody."
After a 'relentless' diving operation off the coast of Mandapam for two days, the ICG diving team, in coordination with local divers, successfully recovered the gold consignment from the sea bed on the morning of June 1.
The statement added that the consignment was of gold bars weighing 11.600 kgs.
The release further stated that the joint operation resulted in a total seizure of about 32.869 kgs of smuggled gold valued at approximately Rs 20.20 crores. The suspects are in the custody of DRI for further legal action.
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