Investigation begins in seizure from cargo flight

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Agartala, Apr 10: Three separate investigations have been launched by Customs department, Airport Authority of India(AAI) and Tripura state police following the seizure of a huge contraband consignment in Air India's cargo flight, chartered by India Post on April 8 late hours.

According to the police, investigation has been launched and the matter was taken up with its counterparts at Kolkata and Imphal while AAI was asked to conduct inquiry on how the consignment had been boarded on the flight.

Customs officials here seized as many as 178 parcels containing raw leather, animal skins, ganja, Myanmar manufactured cigarettes, pirated Chinese DVDs and Chinese shoes, had been booked by speed post at Imphal and Air India aircraft IC-7901 carrying the parcels took off from Imphal for Kolkata via Agartala.

The cargo cannot be loaded unless the airline staff paste a green sticker on it, said Md Riyajuddin, in charge of India Post cargo service at Imphal, but Air India officials said, ''We only provide the crew and we are responsible for maintenance of nothing more.

However, we have ordered a high level inquiry.'' Deputy Custom Commissioner Sucheta Sreejesh told UNI that it was an audacious and well organised smuggling racket, using government owned channels.

She, however, pointed out that most of the seized packets came from Moreh on the Indo-Myanmar border. Moreover, all recovered cigarettes - Mount Popa, Ruil River and W A Light-- were made in Myanmar, skins of rare animals like bison, deer and wild buffalo were contained in the packets, Mrs Sreejesh said.

The postal department introduced the cargo aircraft last year in the NE states to transport various postal goods to and from the region as part of it's business expansion drive in the country and to compete with the private courier agencies.


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