Chennai Customs seized Saffron worth Rs. 47 lakh: Smuggler arrested

Saffron seized by Chennai Customs
Alert customs officials at Chennai International Airport seized 19.75kg of Iranian saffron, worth Rs 47.4 lakh, from a passenger who arrived here from Dubai on Sunday 21st October. A passenger namely Shahul Hameed Maricar, 25, who arrived here in an Emirates flight, was intercepted at the exit of arrival hall as he appeared to be nervous and was walking in a suspicious manner.
Maricar?s checked-in baggage comprising one black stroller bag and one carton box was examined. On questioning, he was evasive in his replies and appeared shaky. There were eight green bundles containing 40 small packets of 25 gram of saffron each ? were found in the baggage. The customs officials were stunned when they found further gold foils weighing 103 gram, worth Rs 3.4 lakh, wrapped around the stroller handles. The officials found 12 green bundles of saffron containing 470 small packets of 25 gram each in the carton box.
In total, 19.75kg of Grade I Iranian saffron, worth Rs 47.4 lakh, was recovered which was seized under the provisions of the Customs Act 1962. The passenger Maricar was arrested.

One of the senior custom official said ?Smuggling of saffron (?crocus sativus?) has been on the rise due to the high price of Indian saffron and the high import duty on saffron. Saffron, which is normally available in 5-10 grams, costs a fortune?.

The official further said ?We at Chennai customs keeping strict vigil to curb various smuggling ativities. We are tracking down various modus operandi of smugglers and are successful in unearthing several cases in last few months. Not only we depute plain clothes officials in arrival halls, but also keeping a track on every passengers through CCTV. If we found suspicious body language of any passenger, we stop them for enquiry. Most of the time our suspicions turned out to be detecting smuggling activities involved?.

Author : Sitaram Mewati - Award Winning Journalist

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