CBI detains 3 customs officials after crackdown on smuggling

Tiruchi: CBI detained three Customs officials, including an Assistant Commissioner, at the airport here for alleged connivance with smugglers, official sources said.

The Assistant Commissioner and two Customs Superintendents were detained after a crack down in which the CBI found several passengers who arrived from Singapore yesterday were cleared by the Customs despite allegedly carrying contraband.

According to the sources, around 70 passengers arrived by the Air India Express flight from Singapore late last night and of them 20 had been cleared by the Customs when a 11-member CBI team led by a DSP intercepted them and ordered a re-check of them.

Several of the passengers subjected to the fresh check at a separate enclosure by the CBI were allegedly found in possession of contraband, mostly gold, they said without divulging further details.

The search of all 70 passengers continued for the second day today following which CBI questioned the three customs officials and detained them, the sources said.

The CBI searches come in the background of regular attempts to smuggle gold, turtles and other items through the airport here. Sources said that in the last three months, gold worth a a few crores of rupees had been seized at the airport here.

However, there was suspicion that these seizures were minor and a ploy to smuggle large quantities in collusion with some customs and immigration officials, they added.