The wheelchair-bound passenger who was intercepted while smuggling in watches by international brands last Tuesday is giving customs authorities a tough time.
Champalal Jain, 58, who earlier claimed that the Rolex watch on his wrist was a gift, is now claiming that it is not an original but a copy.
It was after noticing the watch that customs officials stopped Jain at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on his return from Dubai while he was crossing the green channel without declaring the goods.
Officials found him carrying 45 international brands watches worth Rs seven lakh including Kolber, Cartier, Seiko, Omega and Franck Muller.
Authorities are sending the Rolex to the authorised showroom of the watch company to verify its genuineness.
Customs authorities believe the watch, if original, is worth Rs 3.5 lakh. The officials also found six bottles of Black Label whiskey and six cartons of Benson & Hedges cigarettes.
Jain was released the same evening after recording his statement and seizing the contraband. Customs officials suspect that Jain is claiming that the watch is not a Rolex to bring down the value of the seized consignment in order to pay less duty and penalty.
“He accepted that the Kolber, Cartier, Seiko and Omega are original and if Rolex is removed from that lot, then the total value of the consignment will come down from Rs seven lakh to Rs3.5 lakh,” a senior Customs official said requesting anonymity. Customs officials believe that only one Franck Muller is a copy.
“We will wait for a report from the showroom and then decide on the penalty to be levied,” the official said.
The authorities also found that Jain is an acute diabetic and is also undergoing dialysis.