A smuggling racket being run allegedly in connivance with immigration and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport has been unearthed with the arrest of an IB official and a businessman.
Investigations by the Customs Preventive Unit indicate involvement of senior IB officials in the racket. Officials believe the businessman from Central Delhi could be the kingpin,and provided logistical support with his contacts within Immigration at various airports. The racket came to light when Customs officials arrested a UP-based businessman,Rajdeep Chawla (30),at IGI. According to Custom officials,Chawla landed at the IGI on January 26 from Hong Kong on an Air India flight,and handed over a polythene bag of a Hong Kong duty-free shop to immigration officials at the arrival hall.
An immigration official,later identified as Virender Singh (36),a Junior Intelligence Officer with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO),went inside his office and came out with another bag.
Singh was intercepted and the bag was searched. During examination,we found one brown tape-wrapped packet. We also searched the FRRO room and seized more than 9,000 memory cards. Chawla was detained by officials,and 260 imported watches,13 fuel injectors were seized from him. The total value of the seized goods was nearly Rs 35 lakh and the accused was evading duty of more than Rs 20 lakh, said a senior Customs officer.
The questioning of the two apparently revealed a lucrative smuggling racket,being run in connivance with immigration officials. According to sources,the businessman had got in touch with immigration officials and given a description of the person coming to India with the smuggled goods. Singh was then told about Chawla by one of his senior officials and paid Rs 25,000 to get goods cleared from Customs.