The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested a Delhi-based courier agent on Tuesday in connection with the antique smuggling case that was unearthed on February 7.
Pushpender Singh, 35, is the third person to be arrested in this case. The smuggling of Indian antiques came to light after the DRI arrested a US-based businessman of Indian origin Vijay Nanda in February. Nanda allegedly tried to smuggle out antiques from the country. He was nabbed after the police recovered several antiques from his godown in Byculla. His accomplice, Udit Jain, was also arrested on March 3.
“We searched Singh’s premises and recorded his statement on Tuesday. He confessed that he used the IEC (Import Export Code) of his firms to help Jain and Nanda smuggle antiques to Hong Kong and Taiwan. He has also admitted mis-declaring them as handicrafts and artificial rings to hoodwink the authorities,” said a high-ranking DRI officer. The IEC Code is unique 10 digit code issued to Indian companies while permitting them to import and export.
Singh has been sent to judicial custody.
The DRI had earlier arrested Jain as a part of the Deendayalan syndicate in Chennai for smuggling antiques and old paintings. Deenadayalan is an alleged idol smuggler in Chennai who, sources claimed, works with Subhash Chandra Kapoor who is an infamous idol smuggler in New York.
Kapoor was arrested at a German airport in 2012 after Interpol issued a red corner notice (international arrest warrant) against him. He was extradited to India based on the information provided by the DRI and is currently in a Chennai jail.
DRI seizes cigarettes smuggled in as toys
Acting on a tip off, DRI examined a consignment lying at the Mumbai International Cargo Terminal (MICT) at, Dronagiri, Nhava Sheva and discovered a concealment of smuggled international brand cigarettes - Dunhill, Gudang Garam, 555 and Benson and hedges. The consignment — that were declared to be toys in the packaging — is worth Rs84 lakh, claimed sources. They were packed in cartons used to package toy cars which was then wrapped with plastic laminating film to conceal its odour and stuffed into corrugated boxes. Sources from the DRI said that of the total 133 such cartons, only 92 of them contained toys.