It will no longer be a cake walk for smugglers who use Gulf Malayalis as carriers to smuggle gold, fake Indian currency and other contraband through the Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial) at Nedumbassery.
In the wake of the major seizure of Pakistan-printed Indian fake currency from a Gulf passenger at the airport on Saturday, the customs wing has decided to thoroughly screen the baggage of all international and domestic passengers at the airport.
"It is a known fact that smuggling rackets use Gulf passengers as couriers to carry illegal consignments. During the interrogation of the passenger, we found that he was a driver in Jeddah and the consignment was handed over to him at Dubai by a third person," said a senior customs officer.
"As per the probe, the passenger has made an attempt to bring in fake currencies through the airport for the first time. We managed to identify fake notes while inspecting the luggage. X-ray scanners rarely detect fake notes concealed inside dress material," the officer said.
The customs department will coordinate with the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is the main agency probing fake currency cases in the country.
The arrested, Abidi of Malappuram, was produced before the court on Sunday and was remanded to judicial custody.
Customs officials seized counterfeit Indian currency notes to the tune of Rs 9.75 lakh from Abidi who had arrived on a Jeddah-Dubai-Kochi Emirates flight. The Rs 500 denomination currencies were found concealed in a quilt inside his bag.