While alleged smuggling kingpin Mohammed Ali Sheikh was arrested yesterday for smuggling red sanders worth R9 crore by the Mumbai Crime Branch, another person was arrested at the airport for trying to smuggle red sanders worth Rs 9 lakh
The Mumbai Crime Branch, arrested Mohammed Ali Sheikh, known as ‘diesel don’, on a tip-off by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). The DRI and the coast guard seized around 23,000 kg of red sanders worth Rs 9 crore from two barges in the sea. “We received a tip-off and arrested him as he was the mastermind behind the smuggle of red sanders to Dubai,” said Crime branch official. The coast guard and DRI apprehended two barges — MV Ganga Sagar and Al Marwan 10 — that were carrying the sanders around 150 kms from south west Mumbai coast. Meanwhile, a passenger was caught at Terminal 2 with red sanders in his handbag. He was initially caught by a Mumbai International Airport Pvt Limited (MIAL) official, after which the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs took over.
At 11.30 pm on Friday night, Memon Mudassir Mohamed Siddique, who held an Indian passport, was caught at the baggage checking during security level one of registered baggage (at the arrivals). The AIU officers made a seizure of 12 red- coloured wooden logs purported to be Red Sanders. The logs collectively weighed 93.55 kilograms and were worth Rs 9,35,500. Siddique was to depart to Hong Kong by Jet Airways 9W 076 at 2.05 am when he was caught.
The AIU filed a case against him, and on Saturday afternoon, it was handed over to the Thane Forest Department (TFD). According to the Indian Forest Act (IFA), export or import of any prohibited item is a non-bailable offence under section 41 and 42. A TFD official said, “Siddique will be produced in the court today.”