In a rare occurrence, Customs officers confiscated 8 kg of saffron from an Indian at Terminal 2 in the wee hours of Monday. The confiscation took place after Air Arabia flight G9 409 (Sharjah to Mumbai) landed at T2 around 4.30 am. Based on suspicion, officers intercepted Sanaf Thuruthi Abdulla at the green channel and recovered the spice from his handbag. The consignment is worth Rs 4.8 lakh.
“After we recovered the undeclared saffron from his possession, the passenger was fined R1.25 lakh. He was also asked to pay another R60,000 as taxes. Smugglers keep innovating ways to sneak in various commodities. The most preferred method is to wrap the consignment in such a manner that the scanner fails to detect it. But once a passenger raises our suspicion, s/he is thoroughly checked even if nothing suspicious is detected during scanning,” said a Customs officer.
Stating that saffron smuggling is extremely rare, Additional Commissioner Rajiv Ranjan for Mumbai Airport Customs said, “It hardly constitutes one per cent of the total seizures we make. Moreover, cases of saffron smuggling are purely detected on the basis of individual profiling. It all depends on how an officer monitors and perceives a passenger’s behaviour.”
Current market value of one kg of saffron