INDIA: MAN TRIES TO SMUGGLE $1 MILLION IN CHOCOLATE WRAPPERS
Saleem Basha, an Indian national flying to Dubai, was detained by customs officials at Mumbai International Airport trying to smuggle out 3,290 carats of diamonds in an original method: inside chocolate wrappers and mixed with other chocolate. According to news reports in India, the diamonds he was carrying were worth around Rs 7 crore ($1 million).
When questioned, 35-year-old Basha, a native of Tamil Nadu, told investigators he was told that he was carrying valuables worth Rs 40 lakh (around $61,000), and that he was paid Rs 40,000 (around $620) for the job. Basha further said that he was given a return flight ticket to Dubai, and instructed to deliver the diamonds to Dubai. He said that he was given the parcel by an unidentified man.
According to an official closed to the investigation who talked to Times of India, Basha “was unaware of the true worth and insisted they were worth Rs 40 lakh. The real worth was ascertained by a government-approved valuer”.
Last January, two brothers, one an owner of a jewelry shop in Deira, Dubai, and the other a businessman, were arrested in Mumbai for allegedly smuggling 50 kg of gold into the country via the Mumbai courier terminal. That was the biggest haul in Mumbai in recent years. The shipment the brothers tried to smuggle contained “20 disc-shaped pieces of gold each weighing 2.5 kg”, and it was headed to the Indian state of Gujarat. Media reports quoting officials from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) said the brothers initially smuggled in only half a kg of gold in eight machine parts before increasing the quantity.