Several cases in which currency was seized at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) have led authorities to believe that smugglers have ramped up operations once more, after the cash crunch they faced following demonetisation.
Three cases — in which foreign currency was seized from fliers leaving the country — were reported in the past fortnight. The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) has started keeping an eye on such fliers to ensure that unaccounted-for cash is not smuggled abroad and used to buy gold, which will be smuggled back into India, said a senior AIU officer. A flier can only carry foreign currency out of the country provided that he or she has exchanged the currency with a recognised and registered forex dealer.
On May 30, AIU intercepted a passenger from Karnataka who was leaving for Sharjah. They recovered two bundles of $5,000 from each of his socks. When officials checked his red trolley, they found various foreign currencies amounting to Rs44.18 lakh concealed under a plastic sheet.
On the same day, a man identified as Rahul Premchandani, 28, a resident of Jaripatka in Nagpur was intercepted after he arrived from Dubai. He was found carrying a crude gold chain weighing 350 grams valued at Rs10. 50 lakh. Investigations revealed that he had been booked by the AIU in 2015, when he was caught attempting to smuggle foreign currency worth Rs11.96 lakh.
On Wednesday night, customs intercepted a businessman from Abu Dhabi and found undeclared foreign currency worth Rs15.92 lakh.