108 kg of smuggled gold seized near China border in Ladakh; 3 arrested

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Leh, Jul 10 (PTI) The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has seized 108 gold bars, each weighing one kilogram, near India-China border and arrested three people, an official of the border guarding force said.

Besides the huge quantity of smuggled gold, the seizure also included two mobile phones, a binocular, two knives and several Chinese food items like cakes and milk, the official said.

"This is the biggest haul of gold recovered by the ITBP during border operations. The seized material will be handed over to the customs department," Commandant of the 21st ITBP battalion," Ajay Nirmalkar, said.

A senior officer said the estimated value of the seized gold could be Rs 80-90 crore.

An another official said the troops of the 21st battalion of the ITBP launched a long range patrolling on Tuesday afternoon in the Changthang sub-sector in eastern Ladakh, including Chizbule, Narbula, Zangle and Zakla, to check infiltration of smugglers as the smuggling activities are heightened around the summer season.

The ITBP has also got inputs of smuggling in Sriraple, one kilometre from the Line of Actual Control, he said, adding that the patrolling party headed by deputy commandant Deepak Bhat noticed two people on mules and asked them to stop.

However, they tried to escape but were arrested after a chase, the official said, adding initially they claimed that they were working as medicinal plant dealers but the search of their belongings led to the recovery of the huge quantity of gold and other items.

The smugglers have been identified as Tsering Chamba (40) and Stanzin Dorgyal, both residents of Ladakh's Nyoma area.

One more person was arrested in connection with the recovery and all the three arrested persons are being interrogated jointly by ITBP and Police, the official said.

The ITBP guards the 3,488 km long India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) that runs along the country's eastern flank. PTI TAS NES SKL NB NB

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