Mumbai: CISF official foils bid to smuggle out ₹1.55 cr in hand baggage at city airport

Mumbai: CISF official foils bid to smuggle out ₹1.55 cr in hand baggage at city airport

CISF staff at integrated security held three of a Mumbai family, a man, his wife and his sister-in-law, who were travelling to Bangkok on Saturday night with baggage that consisted of bulky wedding gifts.

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Monday, March 13, 2023, 10:39 AM IST
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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport | File Photo

An alert Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer at the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport foiled a bid to smuggle foreign currency by intercepting the suspect passengers, leading to the seizure of US$ 1.90 lakh (valued at Rs 1.55 crore) concealed in their hand baggage. 

The repeated seizure of foreign currency by the CISF in the integrated security hold after immigration clearance at the CSIM highlights the failure of Airport Customs and the Air Intelligence Unit deployed to prevent smuggling, even as bona fide passengers are harassed with rampant extortion on the pretext of collecting customs duty. 

Family of three held for smuggling foreign currency

CISF staff at integrated security held three of a Mumbai family, a man, his wife and his sister-in-law, who were travelling to Bangkok on Saturday night with baggage that consisted of bulky wedding gifts.

“A detailed physical examination after X-ray screening led to the recovery of US$ 1.90 lakh concealed in the hand baggage of the family of three Indian passengers,” confirmed a senior CISF officer. 

The three passengers were questioned and handed over to Mumbai Customs Commissioner Manish Mani Tiwari, who was on his rounds, for further action. The trio was arrested and will be produced in court on Monday.

Customs credit CSIF for intercepting the trio

Interestingly, after the Free Press Journal exposé of Mumbai Customs falsely taking credit for the recent seizures of foreign currencies and contraband gold made by the CISF, to claim rewards, senior customs officers made an official entry, crediting the CISF for the catch and reward. 

“It is a shame that some customs officials are misappropriating secret service funds for non-existent seizures and also claiming rewards for seizures by the CISF and other agencies,” admitted a senior customs officer. 

Mumbai airport customs infamous for digital extortion

Mumbai Airport Customs has been slammed with CBI cases of digital extortion of international flyers by threatening to implicate the latter in fake cases of gold and foreign currency smuggling.

In the last 30 days alone, the CBI has registered seven cases against customs superintendents and officers for extortion at the airport, collecting payments on GPay, using the mobile numbers of airport baggage loaders.

The GPay apps on the mobiles of eight baggage loaders had a collective balance of over Rs 1.27 crore, paid by passengers under duress at the orders of customs officers.

The CBI is probing the role of senior customs officers who were beneficiaries of the digital extortion scam, in which the same mobile GPay accounts were used to book hotel rooms and international flight tickets.    

Airport Chief Customs Commissioner Roopam Kapoor had transferred 38 customs superintendents, officers and hawaldars last week, following the series of news reports on the digital extortion racket.  

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