Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy
Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy

Telangana revenue minister’s son accused of smuggling luxury watches

Two luxury watches — Patek Philipe 5740 and Breguet 2759 — were seized from a Hong Kong-based Indian Muhammed Faherdeen Mubeen, who came to Chennai from Singapore.

Telangana Revenue minister Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy’s son Harsha was issued summons on Sunday, April 7, by the Chennai Customs for his alleged involvement in smuggling of high-end watches worth crores of rupees. 

The summons, dated March 28, was sent to the Hyderabad office of a family-owned firm in which Harsha is a director. Harsha was asked to appear on April 4, but in a letter dated April 3, he expressed his inability to appear stating that he is recovering from dengue fever, customs sources familiar with the matter told the media. 

The smuggling case was booked by Customs officials on February 5 when two luxury watches — Patek Philipe 5740 and Breguet 2759 — were seized from a Hong Kong-based Indian Muhammed Faherdeen Mubeen, who came to Chennai from Singapore.

The customs officials have noted that the original value of the watches was estimated by Customs to be Rs 1.73 crore. “The Patek Philipe has no dealer in India, while the Breguet is out of stock in the Indian market,” read the press release from the department. 

During the course of investigation, Customs department learnt that Harsha purchased the watches from a man named Mohammed Farhadeen Mubeen via an intermediary named Alokam Naveen Kumar, who was questioned by Customs on March 12.

Customs sources have stated that Naveen Kumar confessed that he served as a middleman between Harsha and Mubeen, a dealer of luxury watches, and that he made payments for the transaction using cash and USDT, a cryptocurrency, via the hawala route.

In his response to the Customs summons, Harsha said he was surprised and denied knowledge about the case, sources said. But he has agreed to appear before the department after April 27. Dismissing an anticipatory bail petition moved by Naveen Kumar, the Madras HC, in its order on March 18, said the amount involved in the smuggling of luxury watches might be more than Rs 100 crore.

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