Smugglers obtain customs officials’ duty roster to escape arrest
To ensure smooth passage of contraband, smugglers -- even while being housed in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Bangkok – manage to obtain the duty roster of the customs officials. This revelation was made by two persons caught for smuggling readymade garments and drill machine parts at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport recently.mumbai Updated: May 02, 2011 01:35 IST
To ensure smooth passage of contraband, smugglers -- even while being housed in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Bangkok – manage to obtain the duty roster of the customs officials. This revelation was made by two persons caught for smuggling readymade garments and drill machine parts at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport recently.
Requesting anonymity, a senior customs official said: “They choose a time when either officials who are not so alert or those whom they have already managed are on duty.”
The readymade garment smuggler had arrived from Bangkok in March with a consignment worth Rs1 lakh. The smuggler of drill machine parts had come from Hong Kong with a consignment worth Rs40,000 in April.
“They said that they have some officials on their payroll who help them with the duty roster. Though they were aware of the alert officials’ duty schedule, they took the risk as they had to reach Mumbai urgently and the quantity of the contraband was less,” the official said.
They also check whether the official who they are keen on avoiding is on duty by calling up the customs board line posing as an acquaintance of the said official or some other employee. “By calling on the board line, they learn when the concerned official would be at work and at which module,” the official said.
Around three years ago, the department had faced a similar problem. Some senior officials at the airport had then come out with a proposal suggesting that the posting of the customs officials be announced only the moment they report to work. The customs officials work in four different batches with two batches from 8am to 8pm and two others from 8pm to 8am.
The proposal suggested that the day and night shifts of the batches should be announced in advance, but where a particular batch would be posted should be announced on the spot.
“If the smugglers don’t know whether the concerned official would be at arrival or departure unit, then the entire exercise of leaking the roster would go futile. This would help in catching the smugglers,” the official said.
However, no action has been taken on the proposal.