A 38-year-old passenger was arrested by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai customs after he was found carrying 126 iPhones worth Rs31 lakh on Thursday night. Some of the phones seized were pre-owned.
AIU suspects that a syndicate is involved in smuggling iPhones into the country sale. An official stated that the accused, Asif Iqbal Munaf Malek, had arrived from Johannesburg via Adis Ababa and was intercepted on suspicion. “The baggage search resulted in recovery of 121 pre-owned iPhones and five new iPhones worth Rs31.47 lakh,” said a senior AIU officer.
Officials suspect that the seized phones could have been stolen from others. “A syndicate operating from Bharuch in Gujarat is involved in smuggling these phones. These phones might have been stolen from others. They are usually formatted and sold here or their parts are used separately,” said the officer. The police are investigating the involvement of other people in the case. “The phones were wrapped with black cellophane tape in small packets inside the bag to avoid detection during screening,” said the officer.
In December last year, the AIU had caught a flyer with 67 new and 57 pre-used iPhones. A woman who had come from Bharuch to take the consignment outside the airport was also arrested.
In another case, the AIU intercepted a Nagpur resident Ramlal Mohanlal Mansharamani who had arrived from Bangkok on Thursday. He was intercepted and a search resulted in recovery of six pieces of gold weighing 551 grams worth Rs16.50 lakh. “The gold pieces were wrapped in black cellophane and kept in the inner vest pocket. The accused told us that a relative had sent him to Bangkok where a man had offered him the gold,” said the officer. He has not been arrested as the value of the seized gold is less than Rs20 lakh.