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Man held with 7,183 cellphone memory cards

For Hem Prakash (30), it can be said that he literally tried to “walk away” with smuggled goods.

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2010 01:55 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times

For Hem Prakash (30), it can be said that he literally tried to “walk away” with smuggled goods.

But his discomfort in walking with 7,183 memory cards tied to his feet attracted the attention of Customs officials. They stopped him while he was trying to walk through the green channel without declaring the goods. When stopped, Prakash turned nervous, confirming their suspicions.

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs arrested Prakash early on Sunday when he arrived from Bangkok by Cathay Pacific flight number CX-709.

After a body search, the authorities recovered the memory cards of one and two GB (gigabyte), packed in polythene pouches, tied over his socks and hidden below kneepads. The market value of the seized memory cards of mobile phones and cameras is Rs 19 lakh.

The Customs officials also found a LCD (liquid crystal display) television, two whisky bottles and Rs 20,000 cash in his bag.

Additional Commissioner of Customs, AIU, B.S. Nunwal confirmed the incident.

This was Prakash’s first attempt to smuggle memory cards via Mumbai.

The authorities suspect that he had earlier smuggled goods via Delhi.

A Customs official, requesting anonymity, said their suspicion arose when they checked his passport and found that he had travelled abroad seven times within a short span. "On all these occasions, he had landed in Delhi," the official said.

The Customs authorities are trying to find out from their counterparts in Delhi if Prakash was arrested earlier for a similar offence.

Officials suspect that Prakash could only be a carrier working for some syndicate. The authorities are trying to find out the mastermind behind this smuggling racket.

Officials said the modus operandi in this case was innovative. Normally, the memory cards are smuggled in bags by concealing them inside clothes. In some cases earlier, memory cards were concealed in hidden compartments at the bottom of bags.

First Published: Mar 18, 2010 01:54 IST