Afghan held with foreign currency

Seizure valued at ₹10.86 crore

In what could be described as one of the biggest seizures of foreign currency in the country, the customs sleuths at the international airport here on Wednesday intercepted an Afghan national with assorted currency to the tune of ₹10.86 crore.

The 33-year-old man, identified as Mohammed Siddiqui Yusufi, a small-scale garment merchant from Kabul, was travelling from New Delhi to Dubai via Kochi in an Air India flight on June 12. He, however, was offloaded at the airport here and shifted to a hotel consequent to a technical snag developed by the aircraft on Tuesday evening.

“He was about to resume his onward journey to Dubai in the morning when the smuggling attempt came to light during a baggage screening. A detailed examination of his baggage revealed that bundles of US dollars and Saudi riyal were concealed in it. The passenger was immediately detained,” said Pullela Nageswara Rao, Chief Commissioner, Central Excise, Customs and Service Tax, said. Currency notes to the tune of USD 14 lakh and Saudi Riyal 8.99 lakh was found concealed in a heater, rice cooker, and inside the clothing, in the check in baggage of the passenger.

Frequent visitor

A verification of Yusufi’s passport revealed that he had come to New Delhi in February this year and had been staying with his brother. Efforts are on trace his brother, who is still in New Delhi. “We are coordinating with other agencies to find the origin and destination of these currency notes. Preliminary investigations revealed that the Afghan national was a frequent visitor to the national capital for buying cheap garments from Lajpat Nagar,” said Sumit Kumar, Customs Commissioner.

Feigns ignorance

During interrogation, the passenger told the sleuths that he had no knowledge of the foreign currencies in his baggage. “He said the baggage was handed over by a friend of his brother with a direction to hand it over to an unidentified person in Dubai,” officials added.”

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:57:59 PM |

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