Two days after his IPL team, Mumbai Indians, retained the high-profile Twenty20 league’s title in the UAE, the customs at Mumbai airport stopped and detained while the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) questioned allrounder Krunal Pandya on 12 November for allegedly trying to bring in undeclared diamond-studded and other luxury watches.
Sources said that Pandya, 29, was stopped on the basis of a tip-off and found to allegedly have in possession two diamond-studded Audemars Piguet and two Rolex models that were not declared to the customs. The total value of the watches is estimated to be about Rs 1 crore, they said.
The DRI questioned Krunal Pandya for about 3 h, after the team arrived around 4.30 PM on a chartered flight, and allowed to leave after the watches were confiscated, sources said.
“The case and the watches have been handed over to the Customs unit at the Mumbai airport. The player will have to pay the duty and a fine if he wishes to take possession of the watches,” sources said.
“Cricketer Krunal Pandya stopped by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at the Mumbai International Airport over suspicion of being in possession of undisclosed gold and other valuables, while returning from UAE,” DRI sources said.
DRI sources said it had seized four expensive watches the cricketer had not declared on arrival from his possession. At the time of going to press, DRI and customs officials were still recording the testimony of the cricketer suspected of smuggling in goods and assessing the value of items seized to calculate the duty evaded.
DRI officials detained the player along with his wife. Sources said DRI officials, on receiving intelligence, had reached T2 terminal of the airport.
If he is found to have violated rules, Pandya would face action under the Customs Act. According to Customs law, a passenger can carry items/goods worth up to R50,000 as free allowance and won’t have to declare at the customs. If a passenger is carrying items of a higher value, they must be declared at customs on arrival, and can attract duty of around 36%.
A passenger caught with goods worth up to R20 lakh without paying duty is fined. If the value of goods range between R20 lakh and R1 crore he is made to pay the fine and arrested, though he is eligible for spot bail against a cash deposit.
If the value of goods seized is above R1 crore, the person is arrested and produced before a magistrate to seek judicial custody.
Krunal’s mother Nalini Pandya said: “I haven’t heard anything about it. I haven’t spoken to him today.”
The all-rounder has played 71 matches for Mumbai Indians in the IPL. He was the player of the match in the IPL 2017 final and had helped Mumbai Indians defeat Rising Pune Supergiant to claim their third title.
Krunal Pandya is the elder brother of India all-rounder Hardik Pandya. He has played 18 T20 Internationals for India.