Is gold smuggled into India from Bangladesh just because of the price difference of the precious metal between the two countries; Or, is this a method of terror funding now, as movement of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) across the Indo-Bangladesh border has come down due to greater vigil by Indian security agencies, including the Border Security Force (BSF)?
Intelligence agencies in India have unearthed how terror outfits based in Bangladesh, with sleeper cells in India, are facilitating the smuggling of drugs like Yaba to fund their activities. The Yaba tablets enter India from Myanmar. While some are sold in India, the remaining is smuggled into Bangladesh. Could the gold being smuggled to India be a form of payment for the consignments of such drugs that manage to escape the prying eyes of the BSF and reach Bangladesh?
On Friday, BSF troops of the 86 Battalion seized 8 gold biscuits that were thrown across the border fence into India by Bangladeshi smugglers. This occurred within the jurisdiction of the Kharka Bahadur Border Outpost in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal. The value of the the gold is estimated to be around Rs 49.17 lakh in India. Doesn’t matter whether the biscuits were of 22 Carat or 24 Carat, the transaction, had it succeeded, would have earned a profit of nearly Rs 5 lakh. The price of gold is cheaper in Bangladesh than in India.
“On Friday morning, our troops at Kharka Bahadur BOP received intelligence inputs of a possible attempt to smuggle gold from Bangladesh. BSF personnel got active along the border fence and spotted some activity soon. A group from Bangladesh threw a bundle across the fence and then made their getaway through the dense vegetation before they could be apprehended by our troops. That is why we are against the growing of crops like jute across the fence. These provide shelter to criminals and block our view. Unfortunately, our concerns have not been paid heed to by the state or district administrations. A search of the area led to the seizure of the gold biscuits,” a senior BSF official of the South Bengal Frontier said.
The gold has been handed over to the Karimpur Customs Office. While Surendra Kumar, CO, 86Bn BSF, commended his troops for foiling a major crime, there was some disappointment at not having been able to round up the Bangladeshi criminals involved in this racket. Though 150 yards beyond the border fence is Indian territory, the BSF doesn’t have adequate manpower to post sentries there while carrying out regular patrols along the fence. Opening fire on a group of Bangladeshis who are trying to escape after throwing something across the fence is not an option either. At least, not until the contents of the package have been verified.
“There may be the involvement of unscrupulous jewellery merchants in India who could be smuggling in this gold. However, one can’t simply write off the possibility of such consignments entering India to fund terror outfits. A Yaba tablet costs Rs 500. This much gold will cover the price of only 10,000 such tablets. And 10,000 tablets aren’t too difficult to smuggle across. Recently, the BSF nabbed a woman at a petrol pump in Bongaon, North 24-Parganas with over 5,000 Yaba tablets. We have been sharing all information with other agencies,” another BSF official said.