Pune: Two passengers, including a woman, who were to fly to Dubai, were apprehended at the Pune airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out foreign currency (US dollars 1,72,800 and euros 30,000, worth Rs 1.29 crore) by concealing them in casseroles containing ‘upma’. They are suspected to be part of a syndicate and raids are being conducted at their places.
A senior official involved in airport security said that an airport immigration officer at the airport, on Sunday, found the documents of a man, identified as Nishant Vijay Yetam of Raigad, suspicious. He said the immigration officer alerted the Customs authorities at the airport who ordered a repeat check of the man’s check-in luggage. He was booked on a flight to Dubai.
“The bag contained a hot case with ‘upma’ inside. But, the weight of the eatable was more than usual and hence it was checked, only to reveal a black polythene containing USD 86,600 and euro 15,000 inside,” the official said.
The immigration authorities, after some time, similarly alerted Customs officials about another doubtful passenger, identified as Harsha Ranglani of Mumbai, travelling to Dubai on the same flight on which the Yetam was booked.
Her baggage was checked by CISF security personnel, which led them to a hot case kept in her bag.
“This hotcase, containing upma, was opened and foreign currency of USD 86,200 and euro 15,000 was found concealed in it,” he said.
The Customs officials are probing if the two cases are related, the official said. On Tuesday, the duo were produced before the court of chief judicial magistrate, Pune, which remanded them to 14 days judicial custody.
MVS Choudhari, Commissioner, Customs and Central Excise, said, “Most of the currency was cleverly concealed below the steel casing of four casseroles containing food articles kept in their checked in baggage. All the currency was seized under the reasonable belief that the same were attempted to be smuggled out of India and hence liable for confiscation under provision of the customs act, 1962.”