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DRI nabs Afghan man with Rs 3.4 cr forex at airport

DRI nabs Afghan man with Rs 3.4 cr forex at airport

New Delhi: An Afghan man was arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence at the Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out foreign currency worth Rs 3.4 crore, an official statement said Sunday.

The Afghan national, a resident of Parwan (North Kabul), was intercepted on Saturday at the airport when he was about to depart for Dubai, it said.

He was attempting to smuggle out $4.5 lakh (equivalent to Rs 3.4 crore) by hiding it inside a musical instrument (harmonium), which had a special cavity for concealment, the statement issued by the DRI said, adding the foreign national has been arrested.

Smuggling of foreign currency from India has seen a spike in the current financial year.

On November 1, the DRI had seized foreign currency equivalent to Rs 2 crore at the India Gandhi International (IGI) airport here.

Earlier this year, another Afghan national was arrested by the Kochi customs for trying to smuggle out forex worth nearly Rs 11 crore.

The Indian customs has made 167 seizures of foreign currency in the current fiscal, till July, with their value equivalent to nearly Rs 54 crore, leading to 73 arrests, the DRI said.

The value of seizures is more than double as compared to corresponding period in previous fiscal wherein currency equivalent to Rs 25 crore was seized in 120 cases leading to 36 arrests, it said.

During 2017-18, the value of foreign currency seized was Rs 89.7 crore as against Rs 73 crore during 2016-17.

These figures are set to be surpassed this year by a big margin, the revenue intelligence agency said.

Interestingly, the number and quantity of gold and narcotic drug seizures by Indian customs have also seen a spike in this fiscal, the DRI said.

"Internationally also the movement of foreign currency in cash by couriers is used by organised crime syndicates to park illicit funds abroad," it said.

"Outward cash smuggling is adopted as an alternative to Hawala (informal banking), since it saves 3-5 per cent which is deducted as Hawala margin in Hawala transaction," the DRI said.

Trend analysis by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence indicates that Indian airports are being targeted by international crime syndicates for gold and narcotic drug smuggling and consequently, smuggling of foreign currency in cash.



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