A Customs official and a sepoy were caught by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after they kept a high-end cellphone as guarantee for the second instalment of a bribe.
The CBI’s anti-corruption branch on Wednesday arrested Air Customs Officer Prashant Deshmukh, and sepoy Shah Alam Siddique, both posted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport.
They also seized from Deshmukh an iPhone he had kept as guarantee to recover the second instalment of a Rs 20,000 bribe from a dealer.
On Saturday, a dealer in high-end cellphones, whose name was withheld by the agency, came from London with 37 Apple iPhones, worth around Rs 40,000 each in the Indian market.
A senior CBI official said the dealer declared the phones to Deshmukh, who was on duty at the time. “Deshmukh took possession of the phones and demanded Rs 1 lakh to release them,” the official said.
After negotiations, Deshmukh reduced the bribe to Rs 30,000. The dealer told Deshmukh he wasn’t carrying that much money and agreed to give him his ATM card with the PIN number. Deshmukh refused, and asked him to withdraw the money himself.
The dealer could only withdraw Rs 20,000. On getting the money, Deshmukh released 36 phones and kept one, telling the dealer he had to give him another Rs 10,000 if he wanted that phone back.
The dealer left for Surat where he lives. On his way there, Deshmukh phoned him and increased the second instalment from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000.
The dealer then approached the CBI, which asked him to phone Deshmukh and recorded the conversation.
Deshmukh asked the dealer to come to the airport at 10 pm on Tuesday. The dealer and a CBI team reached the airport at 11.30 pm.
Deshmukh sent Siddique outside to bring the dealer in. The moment they entered the airport, the CBI team followed. They caught Deshmukh and Siddique, and recovered the phone.