Ignorance lands Indian-origin US national in customs net
Ignorance about Customs rules and procedure landed a 64-year-old US national of Indian origin in trouble, who was arrested by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs on Friday, with gold biscuits, a coin and jewellery worth Rs25 lakh, after she failed to declare the same.mumbai Updated: Dec 10, 2011 01:32 IST
Ignorance about Customs rules and procedure landed a 64-year-old US national of Indian origin in trouble, who was arrested by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs on Friday, with gold biscuits, a coin and jewellery worth Rs 25 lakh, after she failed to declare the same.
Divya Todai had brought the biscuits and coin from the USA to get them melted and make jewellery from it for her daughter’s wedding. Sources said that she wanted the jewellery made in India as she wanted a traditional, Indian design.
However, Todai walked through the green channel at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, on arrival from USA early on Friday, landing her in trouble. Only those passengers who have nothing to declare can walk through the green channel.
When her baggage passed the screening machine, Customs officials saw traces of jewellery and asked her to come to the counter. However, before they could check her bags, she declared the gold items. Officials recovered three gold biscuits and one coin, along with the jewellery, totally worth Rs25 lakh.
In her statement, Todai told officials that she was not aware of the rules and walked through the green channel out of ignorance. She also said the jewellery had been purchased in India long ago, and belonged to her.
Advocate Ravi Hirani, who represented Todai, said that she was produced before a metropolitan magistrate’s court and released on a bail of Rs one lakh.
He further said that Todai had been directed by the court to mark her attendance at the AIU office for seven days.“She was not aware of the rules and regrets her mistake of not declaring the gold,” said Hirani.