Regardless of how high a dollar is valued, this West African lady would have easily taken the prize for possessing the most expensive lingerie, as airport security found a whopping 57,000 USD stuffed inside her underwear.
According to a top CISF official, 34-year-old Choukouratoua Alayi, who belongs to the Republic of Benin, had come to board an Emirates flight EK 547 to Hong Kong via Dubai, on Wednesday night.
After checking in, the woman proceeded to the security check where a female CISF constable began frisking her.
“Normally the checks are fairly quick, but when our constable placed her hands on this lady, she seemed uncomfortable. So she asked her to submit to further search,” the official said.
When she reluctantly agreed to the full body search, the female guards were surprised to find that she had wads of US dollars stuffed all around her hip and lower abdomen, packed into her underwear.
With Customs maintaining that the permissible amount of currency for a person to carry out of India is fixed at $5000, this was well over the limit. “So they counted it briefly and after finding that it was well over five thousand dollars, she was handed over to the Customs officers,” he said.
Customs officials said that part of the suspicion came from the fact that she had been residing at a local address in Washermenpet here.
“As far as we can tell, she is not a student, but we are trying to find whether the source of the money is illegal,” said a customs source. She was detained and interrogated through most of Thursday, but insiders said there was a likelihood that she may be penalised heavily and released, as the intended ‘smuggling’ amount was under `1 crore. The lady’s stash only totalled `36 lakh, at today’s exchange rate.
Incidentally, on December 25, a Korean national was detained at the Anna International Airport for concealing $1,50,000 in his suitcase, without declaring it. The other link between both these cases is that his destination was Hong Kong. But, under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, an arrest is difficult unless the sum exceeds `1 crore in Indian value.