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Customs seize 14,000 abortion tablets

The Customs authorities on Monday night seized 14,000 abortion tablets while they were being smuggled from Singapore to Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Feb 02, 2011 01:41 IST
Manish Pachouly

The Customs authorities on Monday night seized 14,000 abortion tablets while they were being smuggled from Singapore to Mumbai.

An on duty Customs officials posted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and headed by deputy commissioner Sameer Wankhede, seized Misoprostol tablets from Mumbai resident Yusuf Masalawala, 54, who arrived by a Kingfisher flight from Singapore at around 9 pm. Masalawala was arrested.

The officers apprehended Masalawala while he was trying to walk through the green channel without declaring the tablets which are valued at around Rs 8 lakh.

A passenger who does not have anything to declare can only walk through the green channel. During a search of the two baggage carried by Masalawala, the authorities found 1,000 strips in them totally containing 14,000 tablets.

Initially, Masalawala tried to dodge the Customs authorities saying that he is carrying food. When the authorities opened the parcels, they found the tablets. Customs officers said the tablets come under restricted item. “So bringing them without a licence amounts to smuggling,” an officer said.

He added that bringing such big quantity in personal baggage is also not allowed.

Moreover, the Customs authorities are keeping a tight watch on medical drugs smuggling, as they could be adulterated and would be risky. “We are checking if these tablets are adulterated,” the officer said.

During interrogation Masalawala told officers that he was a carrier and earlier used to smuggle electronic goods for various syndicates for certain commission.

“He was given to and fro free tickets to do the job,” the officer said. The officers also found that Masalawala tried to look like a sophisticated businessman by wearing suit, tie and spectacles, so that he is not stopped while crossing the green channel.