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Swedish tourist found in possession of demonetised notes at Kochi airport, fined over ₹2.5 lakh

The demonetised ₹500 and ₹1000 notes. File

The demonetised ₹500 and ₹1000 notes. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Swedish woman was fined for possession of old currency from an earlier visit

An unsuspecting 56-year-old Swedish woman tourist was fined over ₹2.5 lakh after she was found in possession of over ₹50,000 in demonetised currency notes at the Cochin International Airport Limited on Tuesday.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at the airport, which had beefed up the security and tightened baggage screening ahead of the Republic Day, detected 49 demonetised notes of ₹1,000 and another five notes of ₹500 in the woman’s luggage. The invalid and now illegal currency was later handed over to the Customs authorities.

According to the CISF, the tourist claimed to have “last travelled to India in 2014 and said the currency notes were from that trip. She said she wasn’t aware of demonetisation and neither was she told about it by anyone on arrival.”

The passenger who was due to board a flight to Colombo missed her flight and had to pay the fine at the Angamaly First Class Judicial Magistrate court. She left for the Sri Lankan capital on Saturday.

As per the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017, possession of more than 10 pieces of invalidated currency notes by individuals and more than 25 for study, research or numismatics is deemed a criminal offence attracting a minimum fine of ₹10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.

The Act was passed with the aim of eliminating the possibility of a parallel economy using the demonetised currency notes. The law also stipulates a minimum fine of ₹50,000 for false declarations by those who were abroad during the demonetisation period but were given time to deposit the scrapped notes with the Reserve Bank of India.

Customs authorities, however, said they had very rarely come across instances of possession of demonetised notes at the Kochi airport.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:44:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/note-ban-returns-to-trip-swedish-tourist/article30595335.ece

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