Mumbai: Smuggled goods valued at Rs 50 crore, including high-end branded consumer items, mobile phones, gold and silver, were seized during the fiscal 2015-16 by Mumbai Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, a senior Department official said today.

The amount is up from Rs 35 crore worth of items confiscated in the previous fiscal, he said.

The Commissionerate is presently engaged in anti-smuggling operations within the metropolitan areas of Mumbai as well as adjoining districts of Raigad, Thane and Palghar.

The seized goods included cigarettes, glass chatons, high-end branded consumer items, Iranian saffron, Italian silver jewellery, 24-carat gold biscuits, LED TV sets, cold rolled grain oriented steel sheets, multi-media accessories and high-end mobile phones.

"We have seized smuggled goods valued at Rs 50 crore during the fiscal 2015-16. Smuggled goods worth around Rs 35 crore were seized in the fiscal 2014-15," Principal Commissioner of Customs (Preventive),
Mumbai, Abhay Kumar Jyotishi told reporters here this evening. "Smuggling is taking place in the country though its quantum has definitely come down over the years. I have not found involvement of any organised gang in the smuggling activities.

"We are losing foreign currency due to the ongoing smuggling activities. Also, the dumping of illegally imported goods is hitting the country's domestic industries hard and above all, defeating the very purpose of the Make in India campaign," he said.

Asked to comment on change in smuggling trends, he said given the high security at airports and ports, the smuggled goods are being brought through alternative routes.

"First they are being brought to neighbouring states like Gujarat from where they are being transferred to Mumbai through trains," Jyotishi said.

In most of the cases, importers have adopted a unique modus operandi of clandestine import of the said goods by mis-declaring the description and the quantity and importing in the guise of other low value goods, he said. Sometimes, these activities are undertaken using the import export code (IEC) obtained on the strength of fake documents of some other person with the mala fide intention of evading customs duty.

For example, in case of 'glass chatons', the said smuggled goods were brought by mis-declaring them as 'plastic goods' and even 'imitation jewellery'. In some cases, the goods were not accompanied by valid import documents, he said.

The Commissionerate has filed a number of cases in respect of IPR (intellectual property right) violation.