A man has been arrested by customs officials at Delhi airport for allegedly smuggling seven luxury wrist watches, including the one made of gold and studded with diamonds worth Rs 27.09 crore, officials said on Thursday.
Commissioner of customs at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport Zubair Riaz Kamili said it is the biggest seizure, in value terms, of commercial or luxury goods. “In value terms, it is equivalent to seizing around 60 kgs of gold in one instance,” he added. The accused passenger, an Indian national, was intercepted by the customs officials after his arrival from Dubai on Tuesday, an official statement said.
The detailed examination of the baggage and personal search of the passenger resulted in the recovery of seven wrist watches -- Jacob & Co (model: BL115.30a), Piaget limelight stella (SI.No.1250352 P11179), Rolex oyster perpetual date just (Sl. No. Z7J 12418), Rolex oyster perpetual date just (SI. No. 0C46G2 17), Rolex oyster perpetual date just (SI. No. ZV655573), Rolex oyster perpetual date just (Sl. No. 237Q 5385) and Rolex oyster perpetual date just (Sl. No. 86 1R9269), it said.
One of the watches of Jacob & Co is worth Rs 27.09 crore alone, it added. Besides these watches, a diamond-studded gold bracelet and an iPhone 14 Pro 256 GB having a total value of Rs 28.17 crore were also recovered from the passenger, said the statement issued by Delhi Customs.
The watches were seized and the passenger was arrested, it said. A senior customs official said the accused passenger and his uncle have a retail outlet of expensive watches in Dubai with branches at other places in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"He was carrying them for delivery to a high-profile client in Delhi. The passenger was to meet this client, said to be from Gujarat, at a five star hotel in Delhi. The client did not turn up for the meeting. So far, the accused has also not disclosed the name of the client saying he fears for his life," the official said, wishing anonymity.
Chief Commissioner, Delhi Customs Zone, Surjit Bhujabal said, “Alert customs officers at Delhi Airport has made this (seizure) possible in spite of having such high passenger traffic.
“Indian Customs have always ensured maximum facilitation with minimal disturbance to genuine passengers and simultaneously ensuring to safeguard of economic frontiers by curbing smuggling,” Bhujbal said.
(With PTI inputs)