Protecting the detained International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup perpetual trophy for last four days proved to be a major task for Customs officials at the Mumbai airport.
The trophy was kept in a strong room at the arrival terminal along with other seized valuables.
The department banned the entry of loaders into the room. Usually, loaders are allowed to carry the seized goods into the room in the presence of Customs officials.
“We carried the goods and kept it in the room,” a senior Customs official said.
He said a superintendent and an inspector level — who generally takes care of the strong room — were asked to be present in the strong room at all hours.
“Earlier, officials were allowed to lock the strong room if they had to go somewhere. However, after the trophy came in, their presence was made compulsory at all hours," the officer said.
He added that officials were asked to ensure a replacement if they had to leave the room.
Customs officials said if the ICC had taken an ad hoc duty exemption from the government before bringing the trophy, the department would have released it.
The department had detained the trophy on Friday when ICC representatives brought the same from Colombo.
The representatives had a covering letter saying that the trophy had no commercial value.
However, Customs officials, with the help of experts, assessed the value of the trophy made of gold and silver at `60 lakh. The duty on it was determined to be `22 lakh.
The ICC refused to pay the duty and said it would take the trophy back while returning to Dubai where it has its headquarters.
As per rules, the re-export of a detained legitimate good for which duty is not paid is allowed.
"But in all this controversy it had become our headache because we had to protect the trophy till the ICC collected it,” the official said.