HYDERABAD: An organised racket comprising Customs & Central Excise and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) officials, who used scanned copies of passports from unsuspecting air passengers returning from abroad, to buy expensive liquor brands from airport’s duty-free shops and selling them outside, was busted by the enforcement wing of the Telangana State Prohibition and Excise department.
Two customs officials from RGIA have been arrested by the sleuths of the State Prohibition and Excise department and remanded to judicial custody on Thursday. Six more are likely to be arrested in the coming days.
Officials have found out that 150-200 liquor bottles were being taken out from the airport on a daily basis incurring a loss of Rs 3 to 4 crore per month to the exchequer.
At a press conference here on Thursday, Akun Sabharwal, director of the Enforcement Wing (Excise), said that during the raids conducted on the houses of these officials on Wednesday, 266 bottles were seized and more raids were underway.
The raids were conducted in connection with reports of sale of duty-free liquor in collusion with airport and Customs officials.
Brands of the bottles which were seized include Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Johnny Walker Black Label, Chivas Regal, Ballantines, and others. It is suspected that the organised racket has been in operation from many years and the number of bottles seized were very few in number.
A brand among the seized liquor bottles costs Rs 16,000 to Rs 17,000 per bottle at duty-free shops, while the same costs around Rs 22,000 to Rs 24,000 in the market.
Rs 3-4 crore loss per month to state exchequer
Officials have found out that 150-200 liquor bottles were being taken out from the airport on a daily basis incurring a loss of Rs 3-4 crore per month to the state exchequer.