Sanjeev Malhotra, who was arrested for his involvement in smuggling high value cameras, found the most convenient way of getting his goods from Singapore — using Air India employees as carriers.
Air India gives free air tickets to its employees and their family members. According to sources in the customs department, Malhotra had lured some employees to save on the ticket cost by using them as carrier of smuggled goods.
"He used to send Air India employees to Singapore to purchase camera and bring it to India without paying duty at Delhi Airport. He knew few families whose 2-3 members were with Air India. One of them used to go to Singapore while others helped him exit from the staff gate after arrival without paying duty," said a senior custom department official requesting anonymity.
Sources said Malhotra used to save over R1 lakh per camera as there are heavy duties on high value cameras. In return, their stay in Singapore was allegedly sponsored by Malhotra. They also got commission for the cameras they got, sources said.
"Malhotra owns a camera shop in Rajouri Garden. By using AI employee as a carrier, he was not only saving ticket cost but also exiting from the airport easily," he added.
On March 28, the customs department had arrested Sanjeev Malhotra following the arrest of an Air India employee named Mohit Bhandari on March 24. Another employee Kishan Kumar is on the run.
"Sanjay Nangia had brought the cameras from Singapore and his relative Bhandari and Kumar helped him to take the goods out," the officer added.
So far cameras worth Rs 40 lakh have been seized and customs department is looking for the AI employee who is on
"Departmental action had been taken against them and we will keep a check on such matters," said an Air India official.