A probe into the digital extortion racket being run by the Mumbai Airport Customs at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport has led the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the money trail of senior IRS officers.
13 FIRs lodged in the last 30 days
The CBI investigation into the 13 FIRs lodged in the last 30 days against Air Customs superintendents and officers demanding extortion from international flyers under the guise of customs duty led the sleuths to the Unaccompanied Baggage Centre (UBC) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Customs House, Nhava Sheva. The CBI team also seized diary entries of payments received from passengers and distributed to customs officials.
Frontline customs officials at the airport threaten passengers with fake cases
Frontline customs officials at the airport threatened passengers with fake cases of gold and foreign currency smuggling and collected digital payments on mobile Gpay accounts of airport baggage loaders. The digital footprints and forensic audit of arrested Customs Superintendent Kumar Alok led the CBI to the Gpay account of baggage loader Prakash Ambede at the Mumbai Airport. The interrogation of Ambede and Sanjay Joshi further led the CBI to eight other baggage loaders who in six months collectively received more than Rs1.2 crore in their bank accounts linked to Gpay. They had further transferred the digital money collected through extortion to freight forwarder and Customs collection agent Deepak Parekh.
CBI raids on Parekh at the UBC led to the seizure of a diary which included details of payments made to several customs officials including hotel bookings and flight tickets of senior IRS officers posted at the Mumbai Airport. Some of the names and cell phone numbers recorded in the diary include customs officials Vinod Kumar, Brijesh Pyala, Hemant Gete and Anand Kumar who have been summoned for questioning by the agency.
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