Diamond-studded haul at airport
Mumbai-based jeweller's nervous demeanour raise doubts, customs officials find jewellery worth crores hidden on his person
Nihar Mehta, a Mumbai-based jeweller, thought declaring part of the jewellery he was carrying would help him get away with diamonds worth crores stashed away in his blazer pockets.
But he was grossly mistaken. For Mehta had not reckoned that by now the Mumbai Customs officials were quite adept in discerning suspicious body language.
Nihar Mehta, who was detained by the Customs for
carrying undeclared jewellery at the airport, was produced
at the Esplanade court in Azad Maidan yesterday
Mehta, who was a passenger on the Frankfurt-Mumbai Lufthansa flight, had entered the Customs zone at 1.20 am yesterday.
While attempting to make a safe exit he was intercepted by the Deputy Commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhade.
"After reaching the Customs screening point he produced the document for his declared jewellery worth $44,000, which he had carried from India.
Nervousness was clearly reflected on his face. After declaring the items and the declared jewellery, he walked in a very suspicious manner.
The official on duty asked him to stop and carried out a detailed search. Large amount of diamond jewellery running into crores was found hidden inside his blazer," said an Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) official of Mumbai Airport Customs.
During interrogation Mehta told officials that he wanted to save the duty on the diamonds and hence he did not declare them. "He accepted he did it deliberately. He also revealed that he declared some jewellery, so that no one would suspect him," said the AIU official.
Mehta was booked under different sections of the Customs Act, including section 111 of illegal importation of goods. He was produced at the Colaba-based Esplanade Court last afternoon.
"Diamond jewellery was concealed in the pockets of his jacket and trousers. He has been booked under different provisions of the Customs Act. We have done the provisional valuation of the jewellery and will conduct a final valuation soon," said R P Khandelwal, additional commissioner of Customs.
Customs officials at the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, have intercepted top cine stars, politicians and businessmen with large amounts of undeclared jewellery and cash.
In a similar case, the Customs arrested a share broker from Rajkot on July 20. Ketan Marwadi was not only carrying undeclared goods worth more than Rs 8 lakh, but had also hid some of the bills for the items in his socks.