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Chennai: Customs bust British currency worth Rs 38 lakh from steel plates

In what is said to be a never-seen-before modus operandi, foreign currency worth Rs 38.64 lakh was seized from steel plates that were welded together. The plates were in a courier consignment that was bound for Singapore from Chennai. As per the declaration, it contained tumblers, steel plates, apparel, and spices.

Customs officials said that they had detained a courier shipment at the International Courier Terminal, Chennai, based on specific intelligence that foreign currency was likely to be smuggled out of India through courier mode. On examining the parcel in detail, it was found to contain 25 quarter steel plates along with other declared items. The plates were found to be unusually heavy and made of high gauge steel, said officials.

On close examination, it was found that the steel plates were made by molding two separate steel plates together. On being cut open, British Pound Sterling notes were found to be ingeniously concealed in between the steel plates.

40,000 Great Britain Pounds (GBP) in denominations of 50, equivalent to Rs 38.64 lakh were recovered and seized under the Customs Act, 1962 r/w F.E.M. (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015. The consignment was booked by a Chennai-based person, who has been arrested. Further investigation is underway.

“This is clearly a new modus operandi and is not easy to detect. It seems that the lockdown and restriction on movement had rendered smugglers without income and they are desperately resorting to new methods,” said Rajan Chaudhary, Commissioner Customs.