A businessman tried to outsmart the customs at the airport by declaring half of the 20,000 memory cards he was carrying, assuming that the officials would have no time to verify his claim.
But, 43-year-old Sanjeev Jha, an MBA graduate, was wrong. The customs had prior information on him and caught him at the international airport after he arrived from Hong Kong by an Air India flight AI-315 at 3am on Thursday.
A team of Customs officials, headed by deputy commissioner Sameer Wankhede, and another team of Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) had kept a watch for Jha.
Customs officials said Jha took the red channel route, which is used by those who have dutiable goods to declare, thinking that he would be cleared following a cursory check.
“He thought we won’t count the memory cards,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity. Jha declared only 10,000 memory cards giving their value as Rs10 lakh. However, on counting, the officials found 20,000 memory cards, three ipods and two iphones — their value totaling to Rs32 lakh.
Mahendra Pal, additional commissioner, AIU, confirmed the development. During questioning, Jha said he deals in video games and owns three shops in Mumbai. Scrutiny of his passport revealed that Jha had traveled about 11 times to Hong Kong in the last one year.
Preliminary investigation reveals that the goods with Jha meant for his business purposes and he was not a carrier. “We will question him on his regular visits to Hong Kong to find out if he had tried to evade duty similarly on earlier occasions too,” the official said. Jha was arrested in the night after recording of his statement and would be produced before a local court on Friday.