Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 23
The Customs Department at the Land Customs Station, Attari, has seized 262 silver antique coins from an Indian national returning from Pakistan. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has confirmed that these coins, over 100 years, are very rare and have historical significance. Customs Commissioner Capt Sanjay Gehlot said the baggage from which these coins were recovered, belonged to Imran, a resident of Aliya Masjid, Delhi. He returned India through Samjhauta Express on January 12.
Since he never possessed the authorisation to keep these coins and brought them with intend to get it cleared without declaration, he was liable to face action for indulging in smuggling.
Questions are being raised that it has been over five months, yet the Customs Department didn’t take Imran in its custody.
Capt Gehlot admitted that Imran’s act comes under the ambit of smuggling, but justified it claiming, “Now, when the ASI has given its report, we will investigate further to know about his source from where he procured these coins and to whom he had to deliver to. These would be despatched to the Mumbai Customs Department for valuation.”
Nonetheless, the ASI clarified that 75 coins were prevalent between 1862 and 1900 years and 187 coins belonged to the period between 1900 and 1917, during the British era.
“We detected 370 silver coins from Imran’s baggage. Since he never declared it during baggage clearance and could never produce any valid authorisation, it was liable for confiscation under Section 111 of the Customs’ Act 1962. To ascertain the properties of coins, we handed them over to the ASI for examination. The panel of ASI ascertained that out of a total of 370 coins, 262 were antiquity coins”, he said.
This was the third seizure of rare antique coins by the Amritsar Customs Department. Earlier, 539 coins belonging to Indo-Greek, Sher Shah Suri and Akbar era were apprehended on two occasions.
On October 15, 2015, 239 coins were recovered from an Indian who entered the country via Integrated Check Post (ICP). Another consignment of 300 coins was detained from a Pakistani citizen on January 16, 2016. Both of these seizures were revealed simultaneously on September 7, 2016. Ironically, Captain Gehlot also could not reveal the outcome of these seizures too. “The show-cause notices were served upon both persons and further proceeding is on,” he said.
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