For the last four months, the customs authorities have failed to update the list of carriers (of smuggling goods). This may help those bringing in smuggled goods arriving at the city’s international airport.
The list of carriers, including even first time offenders, has not been updated since February. But in last four months, the customs authorities saw around 300 cases at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and about 50% people were not professional carriers.
The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai Customs updates the list on a monthly-basis and the same is given to the immigration department, which includes it in the list of persons against whom a “look out circular” has been issued.
“If a passenger, who was caught smuggling even once, lands at the airport, his name flashes on our system,” said an AIU official.
“The syndicates use small time businessmen, working abroad on small salaries and families going abroad on a holiday,” the official said, adding that if those caught once were included in the list, then they would be easily identified if used again.
The international airport sees around 30,000 passengers flying in daily. “Ideally the list should be updated every month,” the official said, adding that the list includes everyone, even celebrities caught with smuggled goods. “It is not so easy to find out fresh faces every time, so the list helps,” said the official, adding that the syndicates use fresh faces a couple of times to avoid being noticed.
Mahendra Pal, the additional commissioner of customs, AIU, refused to comment.