Nation Current Affairs 04 Jan 2017 Kozhikode: Customs o ...

Kozhikode: Customs officials aware of Rs 2,000 notes smuggled abroad

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANUPAMA MILI
Published Jan 4, 2017, 1:56 am IST
Updated Jan 4, 2017, 7:17 am IST
Customs officials are affected by staff crunch to check dubious entries at airports.
Intelligence officials confirm that exchanging currencies is easy in GCC countries buy gold or other valuables. (Representational image)
 Intelligence officials confirm that exchanging currencies is easy in GCC countries buy gold or other valuables. (Representational image)

Kozhikode: The seizure of Rs 2,000-currency, amounting to Rs 1.34 crore and Rs 25 lakh, at Chennai and Mumbai airports within a week, has led to suspicion that new high-value denomination notes are being spirited out of the country to buy gold and repatriate it or facilitate terror funding.

Ever since the demonetisation announcement, Customs officials have been alert to clandestine operations by smuggling rackets, but they have been hamstrung by the acute staff shortage at airports and the focus on immigration to prevent dubious entries. This has by default lowered the vigil on currency smuggling. Customs commissioner K.N. Raghavan confirmed that there was alert on money being smuggled outside. However, there is a limit in security checks as priority is always given to the passengers and goods ‘entering the airport’.

 

“Many are unaware that Indian currency cannot be bought and sold and it is a crime. Mostly, the new currencies are used for ‘hawala’ transactions. We cannot rule out the possibility of it being used for anti-national activities since once they are converted into unaccounted money, the same can be used for any purpose,” he said.

On December 22, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized Rs 1.34 crore of new Rs 2,000-rupee currency near Chennai airport and Mumbai Customs seized Rs 69 L, with Rs 25 lakh in Rs 2,000 notes. In the latter case, the passenger was travelling to Dubai.

 

Intelligence officials confirm that exchanging currencies is easy in GCC countries buy gold or other valuables. “If other airports are smuggling new currencies to the Gulf, there are high chances that it is taking place in Kerala, which has the highest number of transactions with Gulf compared to any other state,” an official said.

However, some officials suspect a nexus with bank officials, facilitating dispensing of bulk amounts to be sold to NRIs or tourists, visiting India, who find it difficult to queue up for withdrawals. “The limit on withdrawals attracts people to buy money on the sly, though for a premium”, the official added.

 

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