The customs officials seized hundreds of ornamental fishes from a passenger on Thursday when he arrived at the Coimbatore Airport from Singapore. This is the first seizure of such fishes in Coimbatore.

Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, C. Rajendiran said that a team of officials led by M. Chandra Bose, Deputy Commissioner of Customs, found A. Sahubar Shathick moving about suspiciously at the airport.

The scanning of two suitcases indicated that the contents were unusual and they were marked for closer scrutiny. The passenger after collecting the suitcases attempted to pass through the green channel. When the customs officials enquired whether he had any dutiable goods to be declared, he replied in the negative.

On examination, the officials found ornamental fishes in the baggage. The fishes of the Arowana family as well as Tiger Loach varieties were packed in 15 polythene bags. The passenger said that he had collected the suitcases from a person in Singapore for delivery in India. Some of the fishes died in the morning.

The ornamental fishes are classifiable under customs tariff as restricted goods for import, for which a licence is required from the Director General of Foreign Trade along with a certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State concerned.

As these conditions were violated, the goods were confiscated and a penalty of 25 per cent over the value of the consignment was imposed on the passenger.

The total value of the consignment was estimated to be over Rs. 1 lakh. A case was registered under section 111 D of the Customs Act. Further investigations are on.

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