If you find the Customs officials at the international airport polite, don’t be surprised. It’s not the result of any special training, but for fear of raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On August 5, a CBI team paid a surprise visit to the airport after Customs officials had an argument with a passenger, who had arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport from Bangkok on August 4, over the amount of duty he had to pay on a 46-inch Sony television set.
The Customs officials, who had valued the television set at Rs 67,000, asked the passenger, to pay Rs 24,000 as duty.
The passenger, however, left the television set in the custody of the Customs officials saying he would have to go out to arrange for the money.
After a few hours, he returned, paid the duty and collected the TV.
“Around 2 am, a CBI team raided Terminal 2C, where the passenger had arrived, and told the authorities posted there that it had information that one of the Customs officials had taken Rs 800 as bribe to release the television,” said a Customs official, requesting anonymity.
The CBI team asked the Customs officials to declare the amount of cash they were carrying and checked the drawers of the officials.
The CBI team did not find anything discriminating and left around 9.30 am.
The team also took the detention register, which mentions the list of goods seized by the Customs officials for non-payment of duty, the attendance sheet and the original duty book that mentions the rates of various goods.
“It was a surprise raid following information that some Customs officials were forcing passengers coming from abroad to pay bribe for the release of their goods,” said Pravin Salunkhe, superintendent of police, anti-corruption branch, CBI.