Indo-Nepal border acts as gateway for smugglers

January 11th, 2009 - 2:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Siliguri, Jan 11 (ANI): Authorities in West Bengal suspect that smuggling of antiques through Nepal to European countries is prevalent and the tea city of Siliguri which is the gateway to the North East happens to be the transit point for the smugglers.
According to reports, this area has been used by the smugglers to transfer antique idols of ancient gods and goddesses. Recently, a consignment that originated from Malda District of West Bengal was seized from here.
These idols were of priceless antique value, dating back to the era between 5th and 11th century.
These idols hold a high market value in the international market, especially in America and Europe and the Indo-Nepal border has been porous to smuggle them out.
“It is not possible to take out, or airlift them from any other port in India or any port, as they will get checked. The other alternative is taking out of the border through Nepal and from Kathmandu and other place they can airlift to any other country. So, it is easy for them to do this,” said R. Mangababu, Additional Commissioner of Customs, North Bengal Division.
The Districts of Malda and Murshidabad of West Bengal are famous for historical relics and many areas are yet to be scientifically excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India.
According to Customs Commissioner Mangababu, in the past three years there have been eleven cases of seized antiques worth around rupees 52 crores.
Interestingly, these smuggled antiques were intercepted from the same location along the Indo-Nepal border.
Although none had been arrested so far, Mangababu clarified that investigation was on to crack the idol-smuggling racket. (ANI)

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