The Jet Airways crew member caught on Thursday for carrying $3,90,000 (about Rs2.64 crore) in undeclared cash at the Mumbai International Airport has done this seven times in the past with the amount ranging from $1.5 to 2 lakh, investigations revealed.
Investigators suspect that the accused is a mere carrier.The exorbitant amount carried each time has caused the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to suspect that a network of people is involved. The accused, Rislie Agat, a crew member of Jet Airways flight 9W076 from Mumbai to Hong Kong was carrying the cash in his check-in baggage.
“Agat swapped his route to get on to the Hong Kong flight and has done this seven times in the past with the amount ranging from $1.5 to 2 lakh,” said a source.
DRI suspect Agat to be a carrier as he was to hand over the amount to a person in Hong Kong and would not know the identity of the person.
“Another crew member of Jet Airways who had arrived from Delhi to Mumbai handed him the amount. We are looking for the crew member who has gone into hiding,” added the source.
Investigations are on about the purpose of carrying such a huge amount of cash. “There could be multiple reasons. The unaccounted cash could be from the transaction of a commercial product, gold or any contraband. Importers undervalue their goods to save duty and then resort to such channels to do the payments. We are investigating,” said the source.
DRI officials stated that the airlines should be alert. “There should be rotation of duties on routes. If an employee is swapping duties to fly on one particular route, a red flag should be raised,” said the source.
The currency carried by Agat was concealed in five leather diary covers. He was intercepted at the customs counter after he had filled in his customs declaration form, in which he did not mention the foreign currency. Agat was arrested around 12.45am under relevant sections of the Customs Act. The flight to Hong Kong was scheduled to take off at 2.05am.