India’s anti-smuggling agency Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized antiques and historical artefacts with an estimated worth of over 3.2 million U.S. dollars, officials said Tuesday.
The seizure was made at the Mundra port in India’s western state of Gujarat, in an operation as part of the agency’s persistent efforts to protect global cultural heritage, according to the officials.
“DRI has seized vintage articles, antiques and historical artefacts, estimated to be valued at over 3.2 million U.S. dollars in the market, from an import consignment,” the federal ministry of finance said in a statement.
The operation was carried out on the tip-off involving an import container being shipped from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was declared before customs as unaccompanied baggage and personal effects.
“During examination, the container was found to be containing old statues, vintage utensils, paintings, antique furniture, and other valuable heritage goods. Some of the articles date back to the 19th century,” the ministry said. “Several of these articles were made of precious stones, gold, silver or were having gold/silver coating.”
Officials said a majority of the objects seized were from European countries, especially Britain and the Netherlands.
“The consignment was highly undervalued to evade customs duty,” the ministry statement further said. “Such items have huge demand in the illicit market.”