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Seizure From Taxi (1978)

I am giving below a small write up of 1 of the 3 major and sensational seizures made by me (primarily) during my career in Mumbai Customs. These seizures were effected without any information but purely on my observations, alertness, presence of mind, devotion to duty and exemplary courage.

After coming out of CIU, on the night of 7-11-1978 I was posted for guard duties at Main Gate P & V docks. In the night heavy breeze accompanied by heavy rain started around 11 pm. Hence activities in the docks became dull and by 12 midnight everything was quiet after 2 nd shift. It was my intelligence, observations and experience that generally all watch and ward staff at gates become sleepy and lethargic after midnight since there are hardly any activities and traffic. Hence I had made it as my practice to be more alert from midnight as this time is best to carry out smuggling activities in customs areas. Also I knew that since next day there were elections for Bombay Municipality, smugglers will be active as the police force will be less in numbers for duties at docks.

Around 2.30 am one public taxi, without any passenger in it, came slowly to the exit gate. It was very common that taxies without any passenger come to exit from the gate after dropping passengers inside the docks. Hence there was nothing abnormal about the taxi. The driver of the taxi got down and opened dickey for inspection of security staff of the gate. At that time I was standing outside chowky. I was quite alert at that odd hours of night in spite of bad weather. I was observing minutely the movements of the taxi driver and from the expression on his face, something suddenly struck into my mind and I became suspicious about the driver. I immediately came close to the taxi. By the time he had occupied the seat after clearance from security staff and was about to start engine. I told him to stop on which he went into shock. I peeped inside the taxi and I found 2 blue coloured plastic cans on the floor of the taxi with rubber mat on top, 1 under driver’s seat and another under passenger’s seat.  2 more identical plastic cans were kept similarly under the rear seats. I knew that these type of cans are kept in the dickey for keeping petrol in case of emergency but never inside taxi. Since there was no passenger in the taxi, it can not be luggage of any one. I asked the taxi driver in very loud voice as to what are the contents of the plastic cans. The taxi driver was in total shock and kept looking at me. He was totally frightened. At that moment, keeping presence of mind, I immediately took possession of the ignition keys of the taxi. After some time he said that he did not know about the contents of the plastic cans. I asked him to get down. By the time he had recovered from the shock and was looking here and there. Hence I have to be more careful to keep watch on him with help of sepoy on duty. I tried to lift one can but it was very heavy. However with some help I brought all 4 cans inside the chowky of the gate.

On examination of them wrist watches of foreign origin were found inside filled up to the fullest capacities. It was quite laborious for 1 officer to do all formalities of seizure and hence I telephoned ACP(G) for some help but no staff was immediately available. Then I telephoned senior officer Shri Q. S. Qazi who I knew that he stays in nearby area. On my request he came within 15 minutes. It was a great relief for me that such a senior, very efficient, experienced officer came to my help in just 15 minutes in the odd hours of night. On his arrival he asked me to concentrate on examination and completion of panchanama etc. He started interrogation of the taxi driver and was successful in breaking him. He gave full details of the journey and the name of persons and the place from where the goods were loaded. The persons who loaded the goods in the taxi got down at corner of shed opposite Main gate, the taxi driver was told to drive taxi out of the gate. He was told that the security staff at the gate check dickey of the taxi. He was informed to wait outside the gate where they will meet him. In the meantime some officers came to the gate for help. On getting some lead officers along with Q. S. Qazi went along with the taxi driver to the ship from where the goods were loaded and 2 more persons, whom the taxi driver identified as the same persons who had travelled in his taxi and loaded the goods, were apprehended with 1 more taxi and taxi driver.

The further investigations were handed over to intelligence wing.


Name of the taxi driver (accused) Aboobaker Waghee.

Total seizure of 2462 wrist watches of foreign origin valued at Rs 2,96,100/- CIF and Rs 5,92,200/- MV.

File No. S/14-4-57/78-79 Outdoor.


The special feature of this seizure is that it was very rare to effect such a big seizure at gate without information and getting the brain behind it in follow up.


A commendation letter was given to me by M. S. Kanwal, the Addl. Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai.


25/01/2023 10:35:48 AM

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