NEW DELHI: Gold imported illegally into India during the first three months of the current financial year amounted to more than half of that recorded in entire FY14, as per the data given by the government to the Lok Sabha.

In a written reply to a question, the minister of state for finance Nirmala Sitharaman said that 1,264 cases of illegal gold were seized in the quarter to June, adding up to more than half of the 2,419 cases in the previous fiscal. This happened even as official gold imports dropped to $28.9 billion in 2013-14 from $53.8 billion a year ago.
Illegal imports have become lucrative since the government raised import duties. The import duty on standard 99.5 per cent gold has been raised in steps to 10 per cent from 2 per cent at the beginning of 2012, creating a big differential and duty gain for illicit import.

The value of illegal gold seized in April-June quarter was Rs 354 crore, more than half of the Rs 678 crore seized in the previous fiscal.