One more held with foreigncurrencies at Cochin airport

Currency notes worth ₹1.3 crore seized from his possession

On the heels of foiling a bid to smuggle out foreign currencies worth ₹10.8 crore, Customs officers at the Cochin International Airport on Wednesday intercepted one more passenger and seized assorted foreign currency notes worth ₹1.3 crore from his possession.

Officials identified the passenger as Vishnu (27), a native of Mala in Thrissur, who had come here to board an Air India Express flight to Sharjah. The seized currencies were of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the US.

The currency notes concealed in his baggage came to light during an in-line screening by the airport security team, who in turn, alerted the Customs. A detailed examination, later, revealed that the notes, neatly stacked and bound, was kept inside a carton in a polythene bag.

The detected currencies included 798 notes of 100 denomination US Dollar (USD), 22 pieces of 50 USD, 409 notes of 500 Saudi Riyal (SR), 65 notes of 100 SR, 79 notes of 1000 UAE Dinar (AED), 291 notes of 500 AED, 37 currencies of 200 AED, 56 notes of 100 AED, 14 currencies of 20 Kuwait Dinar (KD), 3 notes of 10 KD, 4 notes of 5 KD, 11 notes of 20 Bahrain Dinar and 1 currency of 50 Oman Riyal.

During interrogation, Vishnu told the officials that he had received the consignment from a Kottayam native. ‘‘The passport details of the accused show that he was travelling abroad for the first time, while his ticket was booked by some other person. We suspect him to be working for a cartel in return for a handsome compensation and attempts are on to trace the person who booked the ticket for him,” said Sumit Kumar, Customs Commissioner.

The accused would be produced before the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offence).

In view of a spurt in smuggling operations, Customs have stepped up security at the airport here. ``More units have been deployed at the departure place where baggage screening takes place in addition to strengthening surveillance at the air cargo section. We have requested to provide body scanning machines so that smugglers do not conceal gold and currencies in the body and go undetected during the checking,’’ the official said.

Meanwhile, the Afghan national, who had been arrested with ₹10.86 crore, was on Thursday produced in a court and remanded to custody. The department is also exploring options to book him under provisions of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 10:21:07 PM |

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