Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate today said that he could account for all the unaccounted money that was found from him when he was detained at Mumbai airport by Customs officials.
Mr. Monserrate told PTI that he was carrying Rs 21 lakh in different currencies, and was on his way to Dubai along with his friend and son, when he was intercepted by Customs officials before boarding the flight on Saturday morning.
“I was having traveller’s cheques worth $ 25,000 which I had procured last year when I was supposed to go to London for a business trip,” the minister said, adding that the cheques remained unspent.
Mr. Monserratte said he was also carrying 75,000 Dinar (sic) and Rs 63,000.
“I was not informed that one cannot carry such amount of traveller’s cheques when you are on a tourist visa. It is allowed only on business visa,” the minister said.
He claimed he had visited countries like Russia and Japan with these traveller’s cheques. “I did not encash the cheques in India because of the fluctuation of the currency.”
Mr. Monserrate said that he could account for all the money and he had been summoned on April 8 to Mumbai with accounts.
“This is not unaccounted money. I can produce all documents,” he claimed.
The minister said that he left for Mumbai on Saturday by early morning flight, and was supposed to board flight to Dubai at 10.25 AM.
“On the way, I was supposed to pay Rs 1.51 lakh for the maintenance of my flat in Mumbai,” Mr. Monserrate said, adding that he paid that amount, but was carrying additional Indian currency notes, which were left with him.
He said he was carrying foreign currency worth only Rs 21 lakh, and not crores of rupees, as reported by the media.