Currency Smuggling Racket Busted at Surat International Airport

The seizure highlights an increasing concern about Surat International airport maybe becoming a center for hawala operations


Surat : The cooperation between the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has thwarted a smuggling racket at Surat International Airport. Three people were found carrying $148,000 hidden in their pants and underwear during the regular inspections on a flight headed for Dubai.

Over the previous two years, this is the seventh incident of its sort at Surat International Airport. Recoveries valued in foreign currencies come to Rs 5 crore overall. Official sources state that following questions by CISF and DRI personnel, the people held have been freed on personal bonds.

All in their mid-30’s, the accused said the money was set aside for Dubai business projects. Investigative officers, however, have misgivings about the money possibly being linked to illicit activities like gold buying or the hawala trade.

A lot of money had been stashed in several areas of their clothes, including pant pockets and undergarments, according the inspection. The people were allowed to continue even though the money was seized, subject to more inquiry.

The inquiry turned up contradicting claims from the accused, who claimed to be genuine businessmen wishing to grow their businesses overseas. Authorities nonetheless show caution about the possibility for hawala transactions, which entail illicit informal money transfers, either from Surat or from elsewhere, notwithstanding the claims given.

“The seizure highlights an increasing concern about Surat maybe becoming a center for hawala operations,” said a source informed about the inquiry. Renowned for its top positions in the diamond and textile sectors, the city is under investigation for financial malpractice susceptibility.