Investigations into one of the biggest high-end watch haul made by the Mumbai airport Customs on Monday, have revealed that the consignment comprising three handbags full of watches seized by the officials at the international airport that included renowned brands such as Rolex, Omega and Cartier, are mere replicas.
Investigating officials told MiD DAY that on the basis of preliminary findings, it has been established that the watches are look-alikes of the original brands.
However, another revaluation and brand identification will be carried out to authenticate their claim. "On a regular basis, we intercept passengers trying to sneak in high-end watches without declaring them.
Hence, it is easy for us to identify a replica from an original. Though all the 1,104 watches confiscated by us on Monday look exactly like their original prototypes, they could be easily identified as sham.
However, we will be asking the experts to re-examine these watches, so that a final conclusion can be drawn," stated an official from Mumbai Customs.
The official added that, "On the basis of statements given by the smugglers initially, the value of the confiscated watches is close to Rs 80 lakh. However, had the consignment comprised original watches, their value would had crossed Rs 10 crore."
When contacted, the Additional Commissioner of Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs department of Mumbai airport, Mahendra Pal, said, "A detailed investigation is on. Everything would be revealed in due course of time."