The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has initiated a money laundering probe to investigate a large-scale foreign-origin gold smuggling syndicate which is active from the Bangladesh border to many States such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

From August 5, the ED carried out searches for three days at 21 locations in Chhattisgarh and one in Jharkhand, said the sleuths. The agency said it has seized “unaccounted or unexplained” gold bullion weighing about 3.8 kg, around 12 kg of gold ornaments, 671.77 kg of silver and ₹1.41 crore cash.

A case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was registered by the ED to probe the “smuggling of foreign-origin good and other precious metals through illicit channels from Bangladesh to Raipur (Chhattisgarh capital city) via Kolkata,” the agency stated in a statement.

The ED’s probe is hinged on a chargesheet filed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). “A professional carrier of gold was caught by DRI while smuggling gold and precious stones through illicit channels. The DRI recovered gold from his possession which was of foreign origin and was brought into India from Bangladesh through smuggling channel and was transported from Kolkata to Raipur for its consumption at Raipur by Vijay Kumar Baid alias Vicky and others,” the ED said.

“A large-scale smuggling syndicate is operating in Chhattisgarh and nearby States,” the ED stated while pointing out that it’s own investigation has also reconfirmed what DRI found out. “The modus operandi of this syndicate is that foreign-origin gold is being smuggled into the country after it is received in Myanmar from where it comes to Bangladesh and further enters the State of West Bengal. This gold reaches other States like Chhattisgarh through road and via rail transport,” it said.

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