Actor Anushka Sharma, on her way back from the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) at Toronto, was detained at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Monday with diamond jewellery and watches worth Rs35 lakh. Commissioner of Customs, Airport, PM Govande said she was released after her statement was recorded.
Deputy commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhede stopped Anushka around 2.30 pm while she was crossing the green channel without declaring the jewellery and watches. Only passengers who do not have anything to declare can walk through the green channel.
In her bag, officials found 12 pieces of diamond jewellery including necklaces, earrings and bangles, valued at Rs25 lakh. Officials also found two Christian Dior watches worth Rs10 lakh. Anushka was later handed over to the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU).
According to AIU sources, Anushka said five jewellers had given her the jewellery and a watch dealer gave her the watches to promote at the IIFA.
When asked why she did not get an export certificate for them, she blamed her secretary for not getting it. As per rules, a passenger travelling abroad with jewellery or valuables has to declare them before flying. This is valued and an export certificate is given. On the passenger’s return, he or she has to show the export certificate and no duty is charged.
The official said when Anushka was told only she could have got the export certificate as she was carrying the jewellery and watches, she pleaded ignorance about the rules.
When asked why she avoided the red channel where she could have declared the jewellery if she did not have the export certificate, she told officials that she thought the red channel was only for those who purchase things abroad.
The Customs will record statements of the jewellers and watch dealer. “We could also call her secretary to verify her statement,” the official said.
Govande said Anushka had given them some bills for the jewellery and a certificate issued by the watch dealer. “We are verifying these documents,” he said.
A spokesperson for Anushka said: “Anushka was at the Customs only to sign the formal paperwork for the borrowed accessories.”