Socialite Sheetal Mafatlal, arrested for allegedly smuggling gold ornaments worth over Rs 53.67 lakh, will have to spend at least Monday night in Arthur Road jail. She is likely to get bail when her plea comes up for hearing on Tuesday.
The wife of industrialist Atulya Mafatlal, Sheetal told the court on Monday that the ornaments seized by the customs were those she inherited from her parents and in-laws.
The prosecutor, however, said at least 90 per cent of the ornaments were new. “She had almost walked out of the green channel without declaring anything, that means it’s an act of smuggling,” said prosecutor AR Gupte. “No endorsement was found on her passport that she is carrying so much jewellery.”
The court sent her to judicial custody till June 12.
If proven, Sheetal’s offence – false declaration and smuggling – attracts a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment. She was on her way back from London when she was arrested by the Air Intelligence Unit at Mumbai airport on Sunday.
Customs officials have been on a special celebrity vigil for a while now. Celebrities who travelled to South Africa for the Indian Premier League (IPL) were on the watch and the department continues to keep an eye on those travelling to England for the T20 World Cup.
It is believed that the customs department is keeping tabs on travellers on the basis of information from the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), part of the Indian finance ministry, which in turn is being informed by authorities in European countries.