In a first, 108 kg gold biscuits seized near defined China border in Eastern Ladakh, two locals arrested 

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ITBP arrested two Indians and seized 108 kg gold from them in Southern Sub Sector of Eastern Ladakh along China border on July 9. The accused were trying to smuggle gold into India. Food items made in China were recovered from the accused.
| Photo Credit: X/@ITBP_official

The Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) arrested two men near the China border in Eastern Ladakh on July 9 for allegedly smuggling 108 kg of gold biscuits from China. While smuggling of smaller items was common, it was the first time ever that an alleged gold smuggling racket was exposed in the area with the arrest of two locals. Another person has been detained, an ITBP official said.

The accused were intercepted by an ITBP team that was out on a Long Range Patrolling in the border areas in Southern Sub Sector (SSS) in Eastern Ladakh to check infiltration and smuggling amid specific inputs of smuggling in the area near Sirigaple, Ladakh.

An operation codenamed Jazba was launched on July 7 and 8 from either directions of the SSS, which is a defined border and not unmarked as in other areas of Eastern Ladakh along Line of Actual Control (LAC) where Indian and Chinese troops are in a stand-off since May 2020.

A team headed by Deputy Commandant Deepak Bhatt intercepted two persons with mules within one-kilometre of China border in the SSS comprising general area Chismule, Narbula Top, Zakle and Zakla.

“On being stopped, the suspects tried to run away but the patrol party chased them and reached the area where they had pitched tents. Initially the suspects said they are collecting medicinal plants but later patrol party found huge quantity of gold and other items,” said Clay Khongsai, Inspector General, ITBP. He added that this was the largest haul of gold ever by ITBP.

The suspects were identified as Tsering Chamba (69) and Tenzin Targy (40), residents of Hanle ITBP recovered a binocular, Chinese food items such as cake, milk, knives, mobile phones, two ponies other than 108 pieces of gold biscuits weighing 1 kg each with “Gulf Gold Refinery” embossed on them from the suspects.

ITBP is authorised to carry out search and seizures by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and also incorporated in ITBP Act to exercise the powers of Customs on the border to keep a check on smuggling activities. Joint interrogation of the suspects will be carried out by Police, Intelligence Bureau, Customs and ITBP. The seizure along with the suspects have been handed over to Custom department officers for further questioning and needful action as enshrined in the law.

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