The customs department at Indira Gandhi International Airport has arrested an Indian couple returning from Vietnam after they were found to be in possession of 45 handguns worth Rs 22.5 lakh. In a preliminary report, the National Security Guard, after examination, confirmed that the guns are fully functional and can be used with .22 calibre.
The accused, identified as Jagjeet Singh (41) and Jaswinder Kaur (31), are learnt to have admitted to previously smuggling 25 guns from Turkey worth Rs 12.5 lakhs, officials said. Officials handed over their infant daughter, who was travelling with them, to her grandmother. Investigation revealed that they were procuring a handgun for Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 and selling it for Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, officials said.
“Ballistics report will confirm whether the guns are real. But in a preliminary report, the NSG has confirmed that the guns are functional,” an official said.
Customs commissioner Zubair Kamili said the family arrived from Vietnam on July 11. He said Jagjeet was carrying two trolley bags which were allegedly handed to him by his elder brother, who had arrived from Paris around the same time that day and left the airport. Investigators believe the guns may have been brought from Paris.
Jaswinder allegedly helped Jagjeet remove the tags on the bags, which contained the firearms. The customs officers intercepted the couple while they were moving to the exit gate, and found the guns.
Kamili said: “The accused were arrested under section 104 of the Customs Act (power to arrest), and the trolleys along with firearms were seized under section 110 of the Act (seizure of goods.) Further investigation is in progress.”
“The couple are in the exports and construction business. They have been staying in Gurgaon for the past five years. They went to Vietnam six days ago,” the officials said.
During questioning, the couple claimed they were told by one of their friends that it is legal to procure handguns from abroad and sell them in India.