The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) recently made a significant discovery. They found a collection of vintage items, antiques, and historical treasures such as paintings, sculptures, and metalwork. These valuable artifacts are estimated to be worth more than Rs 26.8 crore in the market.
The DRI took action based on information that suggested the smuggling of these antiques into India through the Mundra Port in Kutch. They identified a shipping container that had been imported from Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. Interestingly, the container was declared as ‘Unaccompanied Baggage for Personal Effects,’ which raised suspicions.
Upon closer inspection of the container, they uncovered a treasure trove of old statues, vintage utensils, paintings, antique furniture, and other precious heritage items. Some of these items even date back to the 19th century, showcasing their historical significance.
One remarkable discovery was a painting called ‘The Harem Guard’ by Georges de Geetere from Belgium, which dates back to 1885. Its estimated value ranges from USD 20,000 to USD 30,000, highlighting the high worth of these seized items.
Many of these artifacts were crafted using precious stones, gold, and silver, with some having gold or silver coatings. The majority of these items originate from European countries, particularly the UK and the Netherlands. What’s noteworthy is that the consignment was deliberately undervalued to avoid paying customs duty.
These stolen items are in great demand in the underground market. The investigation into this case is still ongoing, as authorities work to uncover the full extent of this illicit trade in historical treasures.