KOCHI: Following the back-to-back seizure of gold, the Cochin International Airport here is now witnessing a jump in the foreign currency seizures, with the latest one involving two Kasargod natives who were intercepted in separate incidents on Tuesday. This was the fourth foreign currency seizure at CIAL in the last one-and-a-half months.Foreign currency worth Rs 72.54 lakh was seized from Mohammed Ali and Ashraf who were about to board the Fly Dubai flight for Dubai.
The currency seized, included dollar, UAE dirhams, Saudi riyal and Omani riyal. While Ashraf had Rs 37 lakh on him, Mohammed Ali was found to be in possession of Rs 35 lakh. The Customs sleuths also recovered Indian currency worth Rs 5.9 lakh from the duo. Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar said the currency was concealed in a specially-built pocket of the checked-in shoulder baggage carried by the duo. “The officers of the Air Intelligence Unit intercepted the passengers in the Customs area after they had completed the immigration formalities at the departure lounge.
The passengers on interrogation admitted the currency was concealed inside the checked-in hand baggage,” Kumar said.Customs officers suspect the duo were working for the same smuggling syndicate. “The two knew each other. However, they denied they were working for the same person. But from the preliminary enquiry(PE) we suspect the same gang roped in the duo,” an officer said.
Similarly, it is suspected the currency was being smuggled out in return for gold brought into the country. The cost of the smuggled gold is sent out throughthe hawala channels. In June, an Afghan national was intercepted with foreign currency worth Rs 10.56 crore. On the same day, a Mala native was arrested with foreign currency worth more than `1 crore. Last week, a Thane native was intercepted with foreign currency worth more than `30 lakh.