Mumbai Customs is once again under scrutiny after a passenger filed a police complaint stating that officers harassed him and made derogatory comments about his community.
𝗨𝗹𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗲𝗿
Ulhasnagar resident Manoj Valecha, 33, has written to the commissioner of customs complaining of racial and castiest comments by front-line officials.
Valecha was about to board Indigo flight 6E 1794 to Bangkok on Wednesday morning when he received a call from his home about a medical emergency. He decided not to travel and informed the airline accordingly. The airline had his baggage unloaded and asked him to proceed to the arrival hall. There, according to Valecha, two officers accosted him.
𝗗𝗿𝘂𝗻𝗸 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀
“I politely explained to them that it was a medical emergency. Both officers were drunk and rude. They made derogatory comments about my Sindhi community and described Ulhasnagar residents as smugglers,” Valecha told FPJ on Saturday.
“The comments were unwarranted. I felt deeply hurt and decided to file a police complaint against the two officers,” he said.
𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝗺
Valecha said the officers threatened to implicate him in a drugs and currency smuggling case.
“The officers threatened to book me in COFEPOSA [Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974] case. They forced me to undergo a full body X-ray scan without my consent and in violation of Customs Act,” he said.
Sahar police has recorded his statement and is conducting an investigation.
𝗣𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗱, 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝘂𝘁𝘆: 𝗖𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝘀
Confirming the complaint, customs officials said that a vigilance inquiry will look into the incident. “Prima facie the passenger was not harassed or humiliated, as alleged. Customs officers were performing their duty and questioned the passenger. He was allowed to go after a baggage check,” said one officer. “The passenger’s antecedents were verified and baggage checked for any duty evasion, as per customs rule.”
The customs department has lately been hit by a series of complaints against men in white over misbehaviour, harassment and extortion.