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Manish Pachouly , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 08, 2013
The ‘diamonds’ studded in Miss Asia Pacific 2013 Srishti Rana’s crown, which Customs was quick to confiscate citing unpaid duty for the gems, turned out to be pieces of glass. After the report of a valuation expert confirmed this, Customs released the crown. The Mumbai Customs had, on Tuesday, seized the crown of 21-year-old Rana, who bagged the title in South Korea on October 30. Customs officials had, at the time, said the crown was diamond-studded and hence dutiable as it was not exempted by any notification.

“Initially, people accompanying her told us that the crown had diamonds and was worth around $1,00,000 (Rs62.5 lakh),” said a Customs official, adding that they also told officials that they would reexport it (send it back) in a month’s time.

However, the official said, when the crown was confiscated, the same people said it did not have any diamonds.

“Since there was no clarity and only an expert would have been able to tell us the value of the crown, we confiscated it and sent the same to an official valuer on Wednesday,” the official said, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

The report arrived on the same day stating that crown was made of brass and glass pieces. The report said that the crown had no commercial value, and hence was not dutiable. While the Customs batch on duty confiscated the crown, they had allowed Rana to wear it temporarily and go to the airport gate to get photographed.