AIZAWL, Sept 27 - A joint operation of Mizoram police, SIB and Assam Rifles has resulted in the seizure of 12 bars of gold at Zemabawk here on Tuesday evening.
The gold bars, weighing 1997.96 grams, smuggled from Myanmar, were recovered from a Bolero SUV, on the eastern outskirts of Aizawl. The alleged owner Zonuanpuia, 27, of Tahan township, Myanmar, and his driver have been arrested.
The seized gold bars could fetch Rs 59,16,240 in the international market, police said.
Acting on a tip-off, the team laid a trap at Zemabawk outskirts and intercepted the vehicle around 6.30 pm yesterday, police said. The gold bars were hidden in the gear box.
The case has been referred to Central Customs Division, Aizawl, the source said.
Last week, anti-smuggling unit of Customs Division, Aizawl seized 1.17 kg of gold bars at Seling, about 40 km east of Aizawl, and arrested a Myanmarese national identified as Lalbiakhlua, a resident of Tahan, Myanmar.
Intelligence sources said smugglers have found an alternative route through Myanmar and Mizoram to get gold into Kolkata.
During the last one year, gold bars worth Rs 18.79 crore have been seized in Mizoram.
On July 11 this year, 20 gold bars worth Rs 5.98 crore were seized from a person at Zokhawthar hamlet along the Mizoram-Myanmar border.
On February 11, 2016, State Excise & Narcotics department seized 35 gold bars, weighing 5.817 kg, in Champhai near Myanmar border. The gold bars were worth Rs 1.43 crore. One Myanmarese was arrested in this connection.
On May 17, 2016, Central Customs department seized 13.998 kg of gold at Seling, smuggled from Myanmar. The gold bars were worth Rs 4.27 crore. Again, one Myanmarese national was arrested.
On June 11, the customs officials seized 46 gold bars, valued at Rs 2.30 crore from a Guwahati-bound bus in Aizawl. Two Myanmarese nationals were arrested.
On October 13, 2016, gold bars worth Rs 4.50 crore, were seized in Aizawl. The gold bars were smuggled from Myanmar and one Indian national was arrested in this connection.
During this year, four seizures of gold bars have been made. On February 8, Aizawl Customs division, recovered gold bars worth Rs 31.20 lakh from a Guwahati-bound bus in Aizawl. Two Myanmarese men were arrested.
A Customs department official said Myanmar has replaced the traditional smuggling routes like Dubai, Bangkok and Bangladesh. While the smuggled metal is sent all across the country, a portion of it remains in Kolkata market. �It seems members of an organised racket are involved in smuggling the metal into India. All the carriers have stopped at intermediate points like Guwahati and Siliguri before moving to Kolkata,� said the official.
The number of arrest of Myanmarese nationals has increased in past three months, he said.