The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled a report called Smuggling in India in 2019-20 on Friday while virtually attending the 63rd Foundation Day celebration ceremony of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). For the year 2019-20, the DRI arrested 837 economic offenders while detecting 412 cases of smuggling, and seized commodities worth INR 1,949 crore, according to the report.
The report analysed the organised smuggling activities in India. It provided statistics about smuggling of various commodities like gold and foreign currency, narcotic drugs, security, environmental commodities, animals' body parts, and commercial frauds in India. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence uses its intelligentsia to investigate these cases, arrest the offenders, and thereafter adjudicate these matters.
- For the year 2019-20, the DRI arrested 837 economic offenders while detecting 412 cases of smuggling, and seized commodities worth INR 1,949 crore.
- The report raised concerns regarding India’s porous international borders, especially, India-Bangladesh and India-Myanmar, where cases of smuggling have been rising in last few years.
- The DRI arrested three persons at IGI Airport, New Delhi, with narcotic drugs worth of INR 53 crore.
- It recovered 174 metric tonnes of Red Sandalwood which is rare, and is under high demand due to its usage in production of cosmetics and therapeutic drugs.
- It rescued several endangered animals and birds from the hands of smugglers. The DRI caught three persons with 834 Indian Star Tortoise which were going to be smuggled abroad through Bangladesh border.
- In a covert operation, codenamed Calypso, the DRI busted an international drug racket and seized 3.3 kg of Cocaine.
The DRI had busted an international drug smuggling ring by seizing over half a kilogram of cocaine which was couriered from Trinidad & Tobago to Mumbai in November, 2020. Four persons, including two Nigerian nationals, have been arrested.
The agency intercepted a courier package containing 504 gram of cocaine inside a steam iron press. The package seized was sent from Trinidad & Tobago to Mumbai.
After questioning the four arrested persons, DRI has found out that group had cleared multiple consignments of cocaine - about 3.3 kilogram of the narcotic drug worth over INR 20 crore had been smuggled since August.
The DRI is an apex anti-smuggling intelligence and investigation agency of Union Ministry of Finance. It is one of the eminent law enforcement agencies and works under the aegis of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).
It undertakes cases of commercial frauds and cross-border smuggling of various commodities such as gold, narcotic drugs (hashish, ganja, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD etc), fake currency, diamonds, and other items such as machinery parts. It also looks after environmental offenders and smugglers of various animal species which are endangered or otherwise.
Other than DRI, various agencies like Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Coast Guard, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) also perform anti-smuggling activities across India and its borders, both on land and water.