Pramesh S Jain & Dr B Thomas (Special Correspondent)
US dollar bills of 100 denominations worth over Rs.35.84 lakh was seized from a Tamilnadu man who attempted to smuggle it out of the country from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) by concealing inside his luggage.
The suspect who had planned to fly to Abu Dhabi with the US $ 45,000 was also carrying Dirham notes.
Senior officer with the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Bengaluru Customs at Bengaluru Airport said the smuggling attempt unfolded on Wednesday night after the TN passenger, later identified as 47-year-old Nainar Hanifa from Kurumilangudi,Ramanathapuram district,arrived at KIA to board the Etihad airways flight EY 237 from Bengaluru to Abu Dhabi.
Following a tip-off from Bengaluru sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Customs officers at the departure terminal intercepted Hanifa minutes before boarding the plane.
The investigators searched his bags to unearth US dollar bills totaling to 45,000 and UAE Dirhams 185 worth over Rs 4,000.
Questioning revealed that the suspect was attempting the currency smuggling on the behest of his handlers and had also made a previous trip to Abu Dhabi from Bengaluru on September 10, 2022 possibly for smuggling.
He was attempting to make the trip again within a week with the US dollars and Dirhams smartly hidden inside his bag to avoid detection by Customs sleuths at the airport.
The passenger was booked for currency smuggling and the US dollars worth Rs.36,84,272 and Dirham notes were seized by the Bengaluru Customs team.
Further probe is underway into the TN man’s links to smuggling gangs in Bengaluru with international ties mainly in the Gulf region, sources added.