A man, who was on his way from China, was arrested with 2,000 memory sticks worth Rs15 lakh at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Tuesday.
Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials of Mumbai Customs said Puraram Purohit, 37, took a flight from China to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and then boarded another flight to Mumbai.
"He did this because passengers coming from Malaysia are not scrutinised as much as passengers coming from China," an AIU official said requesting anonymity.
Purohit was stopped by a Customs batch headed by deputy commissioner Sameer Wankhede at 11pm on arrival from Kuala Lumpur by a Malaysia Airlines flight.
Officials recovered the memory sticks from his handbag. The goods were concealed in two small cardboard boxes, officials said. He was later handed over to the AIU.
During questioning, Purohit told Customs officials he purchased the memory sticks from a dealer in Gansu, China, on credit. He had gone to China a week ago.
Purohit said the memory sticks were meant for dealers in Manish Market at Crawford Market and Heera Panna market at Haji Ali.
Customs found 2GB to 16GB memory sticks. Officials said a 16GB stick, manufactured by a good brand, costs around Rs1,500 in India. In China, the same memory stick would cost around Rs1,000.
Therefore, dealers would make a profit of Rs500 if the sticks were brought from China without paying duty. The duty on memory cards and sticks, if brought in personal baggage is 36%.
Commissioner of Customs, airport, PM Govande confirmed that Purohit was arrested.