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Foreign currency worth Rs1.72 crore seized at Mumbai airport, three arrested

The trio was held before they could board a flight to Dubai.

mumbai Updated: Jan 14, 2018 01:15 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,CSIA,Mumbai Customs
The currency was hidden in sealed tins of food products.(HT Photo)

In a huge haul of foreign currency, three Mumbra residents were arrested on Saturday at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) with US dollars worth Rs1.72 crore.

The trio was held before they could board a flight to Dubai. “This is the highest seizure at a single time since the past one year,” said a senior Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officer of the Mumbai Customs. The accused have been identified as Moin Shaikh, Nizamuddin Shaikh and Anam Shaikh, all aged between 25 to 30. “The youngsters are carriers and were working for as less as Rs10,000 each for smuggling the currency,” the officer said.

Acting on a tip-off, the trio was intercepted after they checked-in at the airport. A search resulted in the recovery of US $ 2,75,000, equivalent to Rs1.72 crore. Out of the total currency recovered, Moin and Nizamuddin had kept $5,000 (Rs3.17 lakh) each in their pockets. The rest was kept in 10 tins of cosmetics and food products kept in their checked-in luggage. “The tins were resealed properly,” said the officer.

The AIU stated that the accused spoke decent English and were wearing good clothes. Authorities suspect the currency was being taken to Dubai to purchase goods for smuggling them back to the country. “Among many products, gold and iPhone are the most sought after for smuggling. We are investigating in detail the purpose of taking so much currency abroad,” said the officer.

AIU officers are investigating about the masterminds behind the smuggling and suspect more people may be involved in the crime. The accused had purchased tickets in an expensive flight and had previously been employed in call centres and the electronic business in the past. “We are trying to reach the kingpin,” said the officer.

According to the AIU, some of these syndicates deploy carriers -- young men and women lured with promises of free international travel and money.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 01:10 IST