MUMBAI: India’s Central Industrial Security Force has nabbed three men and a female ground staffer from the international airport and seized 135 kg of agarwood worth Rs10 lakh, which tried to smuggle out Bangkok here the other day.
Tameem Hussain Shaikh, Rehan Abdul Karim Nakade, Sudarshan Vittal Kotian (a former ground staff member) and Parvati Waghmare, a current ground staff member who wasn’t on duty at the time, were caught by the CISF while they were wrapping their bags for checking them in.
The three had stuffed the Agarwood in five bags and were wrapping them up before checking them in. Waghmare was helping the passengers with the bags.
While insiders being involved in gold smuggling is very common, this was the first case in which an airport staff member was found helping in Agarwood smuggling. “It wasn’t the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs but the CISF personnel who caught these smugglers on a tip-off.
However, since the AIU handles smuggling cases, the smugglers and the five bags were handed over to them,” said an airport official. The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) took down the case and informed the Thane Forest Department (TFD) officials.
The smugglers, the staff member and the seized wood were handed over to the TFD. According to Sections 41 and 42 of the Indian Forest Act (IFA), export or import of any prohibited item is a non-bailable offence.