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Exercising Machine

In  year 2015, after one year working on Inline Screening machine at Mumbai Airport, I was transferred to Courier Cell, Air Cargo, Mumbai.  Since I was having keen interest in screening, on joining the courier cell, I opted duty at Courier Screening Machine. I used to screen nearly 4000 packages in my every shift.  Since joining Courier Cell, I was thoroughly checking the scanning images of all the packages.   In my day and night duty at Courier Cell I could detect few small cases of mis-declared cargo, undervaluation etc however I, being Preventive man, was more interested in detecting  concealments of narcotics or gold.

With my experience and gained skill at airport inline screening machine, I started detecting cases of gold concealment in small quantities.  These concealments were in handles of knives, pens, food packaging etc. Though I detected good number of cases of concealment of gold, the quantity of gold seized in each case was not more than 200 to 300 gms. and therefore, I was not contented. I was eager and vigilant so as to detect challenging concealment case of drugs or gold of good quantity.

After four months of my joining Courier Cell, when on one night  I was screening import packages, I found a suspicious image of one package , prima facie indicating gold concealment . This consignment was declared as ‘Fitness Equipment’.  On inspection of the invoice of the package, it was noticed that the said consignment was sent from Dubai and was containing only one fitness equipment valued at Rs. 2500/-(145 AED).  The address of Consignee was that of slum area of Worli. The said image was shown to my Senior who was also with me around Screening Machine. One pamphlet with the consignment was showing the said equipment as “Total Core Twister” ( an ab exercise machine). The image showed that a curved lower portion of the back resting part of  the equipment was having  two pieces of hard metal density. My experience was strongly making me to believe it to be  concealments of gold. However, my senior was of the opinion that since the portion of the machine is curved and it required hard metal to bear the suspension, iron metal pieces might have fixed in that hollow portion. His observation was also logical. However, the address of the consignee was that of slum area  and quick search on internet showed the machine cost in India as Rs. 2500/-. This raised the suspicion as to why a person staying in a slum will import a machine from Dubai, when it is very well available in India at the same cost. My senior was insisting that the curved area of the machine is filled with iron metal whereas my experience, observation, instinct, skill was making me to be firm on my opinion of its being gold concealment.   I requested my senior, Dy Commissioner  to allow me to detain the machine  and to call the consignee in person to which he graciously allowed.

Next day, it was my  night off and I decided to personally visit the consignee’s address. Being born and brought up in Mumbai City, I was well versed with topography of the Worli area with few known school time friends. I went to the address of the consignee at Sundernagar, Worli slum area and discreetly gathered the information about consignee, his profession, residence, his activities etc. The gathered information brought smile on my face as  information gathered was pointing that  there can be  gold concealed  in the machine because the consignee was living in the room  of 5X5 meter , in slum area and the consignee was a taxi driver with a very loose body.

However, I was doubtful whether this would enough for my senior to allow me to cut open the equipment to confirm the concealment. Definitely, my senior would want me to be 100% sure for my detection, as there was no scope for dismantling and re-assembling the equipment as the whole equipment was of solid rod/pipe. Though the price of the equipment was not much and I was prepared to re-imburse the cost of the equipment to the consignee , it was there in mind what if consignee insisted for new machine only, for him . I was in no mood to give up it at any cost. I wanted to seek ‘go ahead’ from my senior. I took the challenge.

I visited several sports/gym equipment shops in Dhobi Talao, Charni road area looking for the identical machine in four to five shops at Charni Road but efforts were futile. Then I found the identical machine at Total Sports, Dadar. Identical equipment with same brand, same colour. Everything same. I purchased the machine for Rs. 2500/-. While purchasing the equipment, I thought if I get the concealment I will make my body fit using his new equipment and if I don’t get concealment consignee will make body fit at my cost.

Next day, I brought the purchased equipment in Courier Cell for scanning purpose. My senior was also there to witness the scanning. While keeping the machine on screening machine belt, my heart was pounding with excitement and anxiety . I had feeling that my experience was at stake.  On scanning the said equipment, image appeared on screen shown that “the curved portion” of this equipment was complete hollow and empty unlike the imported suspicious equipment. It was big big relief to me. This image was also seen by Dy. Commissioner. He took my hand in his  both hands and pressed gently. Now , he was also sure .

 Thereafter, on confirmation of the image we called consignee and in his presence his imported equipment  was cut by the electric cutter which found two gold bars of 1 kg each totally valued at Rs. 49 lakhs.  Seizure was  affected and the consignee was arrested.

25/01/2023 9:17:50 AM

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