A customs officer was among seven people arrested by the customs department for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country drones, cigarettes and other items worth over Rs 1 crore at Delhi airport, officials said today.
The customs staff was posted as the Air Intelligence Officer -- a sensitive post -- at the airport, they said.
A high drama unfolded at the airport on Saturday when six people, who had arrived in the group of two and four from Dubai by separate flights, were intercepted by a team of customs and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officers, the officials said.
Their personal and baggage search resulted in the recovery of 574 cartons (one carton has 200 pieces) of Benson & Hedges brand cigarettes, 1,065 cartons of pine cigarettes, 14 drones with kit, 18 high-end cameras and 16 Chivas Regal (scotch whisky) bottles, valued at Rs 1.09 crore, which were kept in various check-in baggage's, they said.
One of the passengers admitted that he was the kingpin of the smuggling racket.
The kingpin, who is a resident of the Paharganj area of Delhi, allegedly threatened customs officers of dire consequences, the officials said.
Along with the other accused, he even thrashed some of the customs officials who had stopped them for interrogation in their bid to escape, the officials added.
Three of the accused, who had fled the airport in the melee, were later arrested by the customs officials.
Preliminary inquiry revealed that one Air Customs Officer had connived with the accused six passengers in their attempt to smuggle goods, a statement issued by the customs today said. "Hence, he was also placed under arrest," it added.
The kingpin of the racket also admitted to have been involved in the smuggling of goods of value of Rs 6-7 crore in the last two years, the department said. "Thus the total value of smuggled goods comes out to be Rs 7.09 crore," it said.
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