The private aircraft had only her baggage, and Sharma and her husband Ali Punjani, a Kenyan businessman of Indian origin, were to board the aircraft at Mumbai for an African destination.
The aircraft, which is owned by Sharma, landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in the morning, and was scheduled to depart at 2 pm with the couple. Acting on a tip-off, officials from the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Airport Customs, headed by its Deputy commissioner, Sameer Wankhede, entered the aircraft and conducted a check, which resulted in them discovering the undeclared baggage.
“Her aircraft came from Dubai on Wednesday morning and it was carrying her luggage including expensive purses and other items. We had prior information, and intercepted the luggage from the aircraft. As the actress herself was not traveling in the aircraft, the items were not supposed to be on board. The pilot was interrogated who stated that the luggage belongs to the actress. The actress who later arrived at the airport accepted that the luggage was hers,” said a Customs official from AIU, on condition of anonymity.
Customs Commissioner, P M Saleem said, “As per the guidelines the pilot is not allowed to carry her baggage in her absence. Duty was imposed on the seized items before it was handed over to the party.”
The flight finally took off with the couple for its destination after 6 pm.