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Fliers rush to declare pen drives, mobile phones

mumbai Updated: May 21, 2011 01:21 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times
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Actor Minissha Lamba’s detention by custom officials has managed to set off alarm bells among fliers who are now queuing up to declare even small, low-priced items such as personal pen drives, i-pods, cameras, mobile phones and laptops.

A custom official at the international airport said that they have been noticing the change in fliers’ behaviour since Thursday evening. Custom officials detained Lamba on Wednesday morning after she arrived in the city from Cannes with jewellery and accessories worth Rs31 lakh. She was walking through the green channel without declaring the goods when she was intercepted.

“The case has worried passengers and nobody wants to take a risk,” a senior customs official said.

Citing examples, a custom official said that a Dubai-bound passenger, on Thursday, wanted to declare a pen drive that cost only Rs2,000. “He thought he would get into trouble if we find the pen drive on his return,” the official said.

“A passenger who was flying to Hong Kong wanted to declare a small camera while another passenger, who was flying to Dubai, wanted to declare his own mobile phone,” he added.

Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the customs recorded the statement of Lamba’s mother, Manju. Lamba accompanied her mother to the customs office in Marol where Manju was questioned for around two hours.

The authorities had called Manju as Lamba had told them that Anmol Jewellers, who had asked the actor to showcase their ornaments at the Cannes film festival, had sent the jewellery to her house and they were received by Manju. Additional commissioner of customs, AIU, Mahendra Pal confirmed that Manju’s statement had been recorded.