Ranbir detained for Customs violation

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Mumbai, May 4, 2013, DHNS:

Duty bound

Actor Ranbir Kapoor found himself in a tight corner on Saturday, after Customs officials stopped him at the city international airport and imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 for carrying undeclared branded personal goods on his return from London.

The 30-year- old “Barfi” star was intercepted around 12:30 am on Saturday when he arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on a British Airways flight from London and began walking into the red channel without declaring branded personal goods.

“The actor was walking past the red channel towards the airport exit without declaring the dutiable goods that he was carrying, when our officials intercepted him. After his luggage was checked, he was found with branded goods such as perfumes, clothes and footwear worth about Rs 93,000 which he ought to have declared before the officials at the red channel and paid the duty,” Deputy Commissioner of Customs, Sameer Wankhede, told local media.

Kapoor said he was returning from London after completing a shooting schedule and feigned ignorance of Customs regulations. During questioning after detention, the actor told the officials that he was not aware of the baggage rules that necessitated him to declare the dutiable goods while passing through the red channel.

The actor was detained for 45 minutes, during which he was taken aside and questioned, his luggage was checked and fine calculated on undeclared personal goods.

“After enquiry, I was fined and allowed to leave the airport after the penalty amount was arranged,” he said. Ranbir is the latest celebrity to join the list of those who fell into the Customs net after arriving from foreign destinations in the past few years. In June 2009, socialite Sheetal Mafatlal was detained by Customs for not declaring jewellery worth Rs 53 lakh when she arrived from London.

Celebrity Sangeeta Jindal was similarly detained for not declaring jewellery worth Rs 40 lakh in 2010. Actors like Preity Zinta, Minissha Lamba, Bipasha Basu, Anushka Sharma and Dia Mirza, singer Mika Singh and Mallika Sherawat’s brother Vikram Lamba have all been detained by Customs for carrying undeclared goods when they returned from foreign destinations in the last two years.

Branded goods above the permissible limit of Rs 25,000 have to be declared to Customs authorities and attract a 36.05 per cent customs duty (which includes an education cess of 3 per cent), according to Customs website.

Celebrities returning from international destinations being detained and fined by Customs officials for non-declaration of dutiable goods is, however, a regular feature, said an official requesting anonymity. He added: “….it is a well-known fact that branded goods above the limit attracts Customs duty… our department has taken efforts to publicise this, but then past records show that celebrities just don’t want to pay the duty.”

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