High-end watch smuggler in Customs net

May 05, 2012, 09:57 IST | Bipin Kumar Singh

Tried sneaking in a couple of high-end watches worth over Rs 5 lakh each by wearing them on his wrists

The Customs officials at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) intercepted and arrested a watch smuggler on Friday afternoon. He was trying to sneak in a couple of Rolex watches by wearing them on both wrists.

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Imran Munnoar Merchant (30), after landing from Emirates Dubai-Mumbai flight, cleared the green channel and was on his way towards the exit point when a team led by Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) Deputy Commissioner Sameer Wankhade intercepted him.

“The passenger cleared the screening as he was carrying a lightweight hand bag. Once he cleared the screening, he started rushing towards the exit point, which raised suspicion, and we intercepted him. During personal search, we found him wearing a Rolex watch on each wrist. The estimated value of each watch is over $10,000 (over Rs 5 lakh) each,” said a Customs official, who was a part of the team.

The official added that it was through his passport they discovered that Merchant, a resident of Agripada, is a frequent flier on routes like Dubai and Hong Kong. “Initially, he was reluctant to admit that he was trying to smuggle in the wristwatches, but after persistent interrogation, he accepted his crime. He has been booked under several sections of the Indian Customs Act, including sections 104 and 120. We have detained him for further interrogation,” he said. P M Saleem, commissioner of Mumbai Airport Customs, said, “We have intercepted one such passenger.” 

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