Customs officials at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport arrested a couple early on Tuesday morning for carrying 34kg of saffron – an extremely expensive spice. Valued at Rs84 lakh, it is believed to be the biggest haul of saffron ever caught at an airport in the country.
The accused were identified as Mohammed Yunus and Sultana Mohammed Yunus. “The saffron that they were carrying costs around Rs2.75 lakh per kg in the Indian market. They were bringing it from Sharjah (UAE) where it costs Rs1.5 lakh per kg,” said an official. Had the saffron been imported lawfully, they would have to pay 30% duty on the cost.
A source said that the couple was presented before the metropolitan magistrate HH Thaker and sent to judicial custody. “They are residents of Mumbai and planned to take the spice there after landing in Ahmedabad. We believe that they have worked as couriers for the same,” added the official.
The Customs department had an intelligence input regarding the smuggling activity and the officials were closely watching passenger movement. The couple arrived by Air Arabia flight G9481 at around 4.30am.