What attracts people to smuggling is the scope it offers to become a millionaire overnight. In India, Haji Mastan who was only a coolie at the Bombay Docks became the king of smugglers. He was found to possess wealth and property worth crores of rupees. It is true that the enforcement authorities have been conducting raids and seizures from time to time but even after allowing for these losses, smugglers must have made huge profits. Thousands of men, women and children have been enticed into these anti-national and criminal activities because of their poverty.
The smugglers have not been content to smuggle only gold. They have cast their net wide. They are now smuggling even dangerous drugs like heroin, hashish, brown sugar, etc. Other items being smuggled into India are Terylene pieces, sarees, cosmetics, medicines, television sets, V.C.R. sets, two-in-ones, watches, etc. In fact, they smuggle into India anything and everything which gives them greater margin of profit.
Smugglers are not only smuggling goods into India but are also smuggling foods out of India. Some of the items which are smuggled out of the country e silver, narcotics etc. The latest trend is to send out even illegal immigrants Om India to other countries by charging huge consideration money for it.
Yet another modus operandi of smugglers is to cheat the Government by insulating foreign exchange remittances from abroad by Indian nationals, hey collect foreign exchange from Indians abroad and make payment to the elatives and friends of the senders in India at higher than the official rate. In is way these smugglers cause a big loss of money to the Government of India.
There are many reasons why smuggling has not been effectively controlled I India. First, India has a vast coastline both on the Eastern and Western ousts. The total length of its coastline is about 7,516.5 km. It is not possible van for an organisation like the Coast Guard to keep a watch over such a long trench of coastline. Secondly, some of these smugglers are better equipped with arms, mechanized speed boats and wireless transmitters than the government enforcement agencies. Smugglers are, therefore, able to hoodwink enforcement agencies.
Despite these drawbacks, the Government has made it clear that it is firm in its resolve to fight socio-economic evils like smuggling, tax evasion and black money, etc. On 17th September, 1974, a Presidential Order was issued for detention of smugglers under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). In 1976, the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of property) Act was passed. The object of this Act was to combat the menace of mugging and foreign exchange racketeering in the country. It empowered the “government to forfeit the illegally acquired properties by the smugglers and foreign exchange manipulators and their relatives and associates.
Every year gold biscuits and smack worth crores of rupees were seized at the airports and hide-outs of the smugglers. Though these seizures may appear to be big in them, there is no doubt that these are only the tip of the iceberg. According to a recent report, gold biscuits are sometimes concealed even in the human rectum to escape the vigilant eyes of the customs authorities. It is, therefore, necessary, for enforcement authorities to review their strategies to combat smuggling and outwit the smugglers.