The Mumbai Airport Customs on Friday arrested a Nigerian woman caught with precious stone-studded jewellery worth Rs 36 lakh, which she had brought from Dubai.
Taiwo Omololo, 40, arrived on Wednesday night from Dubai on an Emirates flight. As she passed through the green channel, a customs batch headed by deputy commissioner Sameer Wankhede intercepted her.
Only those passengers who do not have any goods to declare can walk through the green channel.
On checking Omololo’s bag, officials found 40 jewellery pieces, which were embedded with more than 100 precious stones including emeralds, rubies, corals, pearls and sapphires.
Customs authorities found that only two jewellery pieces belonged to her. “She had brought along jewellery belonging to others to either get them polished, repaired, modified, exchanged or to make new jewellery out of an existing piece,” said a customs official, requesting anonymity. “People prefer to get their jewellery made in India because the labour here is extremely cheap.”
Customs officials sent the jewellery for valuation on Thursday. Meanwhile, Omololo was allowed to go. After the report confirmed that the stones were precious, Omololo was summoned and arrested on Friday morning.
Commissioner of customs (airport) PM Saleem confirmed the arrest. The jewellery also was confiscated. Omololo was later produced before a magistrate’s court, which released her on bail.
Officials said that jewellery brought for repairing or polishing cannot be carried in one’s personal baggage. “It should be brought through cargo and must be cleared by the Diamond Plaza Clearance Centre after the payment of the requisite duty,” the official said.
In her statement to the customs, Omololo said she was unaware of the rules.