MUMBAI: The latest estimates of gold imports by a leading industry source in the days following demonetisation shows that certain entities in the gold trade, in possible collusion with some bankers, helped people convert their black money to gold bars and jewellery.
While official import figures of November have not been released, the industry source said 72 tonnes were imported during that month. Of this, he claimed 52 tonnes worth Rs 15,000 crore were over $2 billion or brought in during November 11-20, days after demonetisation on Nov 8. Nine tonnes were imported in the first 10 days and 11 tonnes in the last 10 days of the month.
"That 52 tonnes were imported just after demonetisation from November 10 shows the hand of certain unscrupulous entities in the trade in facilitating conversion," the source said. "The government has its task cut out as it could ascertain which bank imported how much in the 10 relevant days and to whom were these sales made."
However, while admitting that "shady elements" had tarnished the entire jewellery trade's "image" Surendra Mehta, secretary of India Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA), claimed of the estimated 95 tonnes import, in Nov, 30% would have been for conversion of black money, unlike the trade source's figure of 70%.
IBJA has include dore or raw gold imports in its estimate unlike the trade source's one. Of his estimated figure 75 tonnes were imported in the first fortnight of the month."The price of gold came down and tariff value was revised downwards after Nov 16, when the remaining 25 tonnes were imported, we estimate.