With a prior intelligence about two smugglers trying to sneak in a large consignment of memory cards into the city, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) led by its Deputy Commissioner Sameer Wankhede, laid a trap and nabbed a duo. The arrested duo has been identified as Sakib Ghulam Samir Ambrelia (25) and Iram Bahad Gandhi (29).
Both Ambrelia and Gandhi had landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport via Jet Airways flight 9W 75 (Hong Kong-Mumbai) around 12.10 am yesterday. The officials seized a consignment of 44,400 memory cards worth Rs 85 lakh from their possession.
Trapped: The Air Intelligence Unit seized a consignment of 44,400
memory cards worth Rs 85 lakh from the accused who landed at
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport yesterday.
During interrogation, when the articles belonging to the smugglers were being scrutinised, including their cellphones, the duo's call records left the officials stunned. "Initially, during interrogation, the duo said nothing.
However, when we checked their call records, it revealed that one of our Customs employees was hand in glove with the smugglers. The duo after landing from Hong Kong, called a driver employed with the Mumbai Airport Customs, to help them clear the consignment from the airport's premises," said a source from Mumbai Airport Customs.
As the interrogation progressed, the smugglers confessed that the driver was their main source of information and a security clearance agent at the airport. "The duo informed us that he (driver) was is in touch with the kingpins sitting in Hong Kong and was paid a hefty commission for his job. Revealing their modus operandi, the smugglers stated that after landing at the airport, they would rush to the urinal to stash their consignments. Later, the driver would take the consignment out, clearing all the security points without raising suspicion," added the source.
Based on the smugglers' statements, the Customs officials are likely to detain the driver. "We have informed the senior officials, including Customs commissioner about the driver's involvement in the racket and are hopeful of getting a sanction to book him along with the smugglers," stated an official, requesting anonymity.
Mahendra Pal, additional commissioner, AIU, Mumbai Airport Customs, said, "We have arrested two people with a large consignment of memory cards. The duo has been booked under Sections 77 and 111 of Indian Customs Act. All those involved in this case will be dealt with stringently." However, Pal refused to comment on the alleged involvement of one of the Customs employees.
Both the accused are likely to be produced in the Esplanade Court today.