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Customs department profits from gang rivalry

The Mumbai airport Customs department has benefited from the raging enmity between international smuggling groups; bootleggers have been calling up with tip-offs on consignments received by their foes

While the animosity between rival international smuggling gangs is now at an all-time high, the Mumbai airport Customs department is not complaining, as it has been reaping the benefits of this mutual hostility. Sources from the department revealed that many of the recent hauls were made on the basis of tip-offs received from rival gangs, who wished to settle scores with their foes.


Under scanner: Sources say the number of active international
smuggling gangs have proliferated in the past three-four years, and so
has the conflict between them, fuelled by competition.

Representation pic


The recent incident, in which the department confiscated 1,104 high-end smuggled watches, is being cited as one such case. "Usually, we gather intelligence from our own networks, including the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). But in the past few months, we have been receiving crucial promptings from members of the smuggling racket itself. They call us on our landline and give us valuable tip-offs about the consignments to be received and dispatched by their rival gangs. We confiscated 1,104 watches on Monday on the basis of one such tip-off," a source from the Mumbai airport Customs department told this newspaper, on the condition of anonymity.

According to sources, the number of active international smuggling gangs have proliferated in the past three-four years, and so has the conflict between them, fuelled by competition. "In the past few years, gangs have increased manifold, and they are staunch rivals. It has also been revealed that these rackets mostly operate from Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok."

Officialspeak
The Additional Commissioner of the Air Intelligence Unit of the Customs department of the Mumbai airport, Mahendra Pal, said, "We have our strong sources of information, but this is not a matter that should be discussed in public. I don't want to comment on this issue."

1,104
Number of high-end smuggled watches that were confiscated by the Mumbai airport Customs yesterday

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