'Unfounded allegations': Hardik Pandya clarifies on watch seizure at airport
Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya on Tuesday issued a clarification about the alleged seizure of his watches by the Mumbai Customs Department. Pandya had returned from the United Arab Emirates on Sunday night, days after India were eliminated from the ICC T20 World Cup. The cricketer, however, denied any wrongdoing in the matter. Here are more details on this.
Earlier in the day, reports said customs officials had seized two watches worth Rs. 5 crore from Pandya after he arrived at the Mumbai airport. The officials said he neither had a bill for the watches nor did he declare them as custom items, as per the reports. However, Pandya stated that "wrong perceptions have been floating around on social media."
In a statement issued on Twitter, Pandya said he had voluntarily declared all the items he had bought and was ready to pay the required custom duty. "As a matter of fact, the customs department had asked for all purchase documents which were submitted; however customs is doing proper valuation for duty which I've already confirmed to pay," he said.
Pandya further claimed the watch is worth around Rs. 1.5 crore and not Rs. 5 crore "as per the rumors floating around on social media." "I'm a law-abiding citizen of the country and I respect all government agencies. I've received all the cooperation from the Mumbai customs department and I've assured my full cooperation to them," the 28-year-old wrote.
According to a report by The Times of India, there was a discrepancy in the invoice submitted by Pandya to the officials. He will now have to submit a fresh invoice where the serial numbers match. Sources told the publication that if the cricketer fails to submit enough evidence, the watches will be seized by the customs department.
Last year, Pandya's brother, fellow cricket player Krunal Pandya was also intercepted at the Mumbai international airport for alleged possession of undisclosed gold and other valuables. He and his wife were then detained by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).