Diamonds worth Rs 2.25 crore were seized at Anna International Airport in Chennai on Saturday. Customs officials seized 2,996 carat of diamonds from a passenger who had arrived from Kuala Lumpur by Batik Airline on Saturday morning.
Malaysian national Azmal Khan Bin Nagor Mera was intercepted by the Customs officers at the exit of the Customs arrival hall for his suspicious behaviour. According to reports, this is the first registered case for illegal import of diamonds through Chennai.
The Hindu reports that based on special tip-off, a special vigil was maintained at the airport by the officers from Friday night. The report adds that two white bundles were found concealed in his inner wear. A multi-function cooker found inside his checked-in luggage, had eight more bundles, wrapped in adhesive tape and concealed at the bottom. The officers retrieved 55 white mini ziplock pouches with precious stones from these bundles.
The Times of India states that Azmal was supposed to hand over the packages to an unknown person outside the airport but the officerâ€™s attempt to trace the receiver were not fruitful. According to TOI, a government-approved valuer certified the stones to be unbranded diamonds of different cuts, shapes, clarity and colour.
In June this year, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized gold worth nearly Rs 8 crore on Saturday at the Chennai airport. Reportedly part of a smuggling ring, the officials found 23 kg of foreign marked gold bars with the men. Five men, including a customs officer posted at the airport were arrested by the Directorate.
In March last year, a 35-year-old Tamil Nadu man, Saleem Basha was arrested at Mumbai airport for trying to smuggle Rs 10 crore worth diamonds to Dubai. This is reportedly the biggest quantity of diamonds to be smuggled out of India in recent times.