Hardik Pandya issues statement after watches seized at airport by customs

Nov 16, 2021: Cricketer Hardik Pandya on Tuesday said that he voluntarily went to Mumbai airport customs counter to declare the items brought by him and pay the requisite customs duty.

Earlier, it was reported that luxury watches worth 5 crore were seized by customs as the cricketer failed to produce bills.

Cricketer Hardik Pandya denied reports that wristwatches worth ₹ 50 million were confiscated from him at the Mumbai airport on his return from Dubai, saying that ₹ 1.5 million worth Only one watch was purchased for a “reasonable price”. A report by the ANI news agency on Tuesday said that the customs department confiscated two watches on Sunday night because Mr Pandya allegedly did not have their bill.

Denying the charges, Mr Pandya posted a statement on Twitter saying, “I voluntarily went to Mumbai airport customs counter to declare the items brought by me and pay the requisite customs duty. Wrong perceptions have been floating around on social media regarding my declaration to customs at Mumbai airport, and I would like to clarify about what transpired.”

He further clarified saying, “I had voluntarily declared all the items that I’d lawfully purchased from Dubai and was ready to pay whatever duties that needed to be paid. 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.

He added, “The cost of the watch is approximately ₹ 1.5 crore and not ₹ 5 crore as per the rumours 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 and will provide them with whatever legitimate documents they need to get this matter cleared. All allegations against me of crossing any legal boundaries are totally unfounded,”

According to the Indian media, the cricketer was found in possession of expensive watches worth an estimated Indian Rs7.5 million on arrival from the UAE. The watches had not been declared to the relevant authorities.

Sources said Pandya was carrying four watches — two of them were Rolex watches while the other two were of the brand Audemar Piguet. The cricketer was part of the Mumbai Indians team that won the IPL final played last month in Dubai.

The watches will be released only after a show-cause notice is issued followed by an adjudication where the fine and penalty will be levied, which will be around 60% of the value of the watches, sources told the publication.

Hardik Pandya was returning from Dubai after India wrapped up its stint at the T20 World Cup. Officials said the watches have been seized and the couple will be allowed to go.

Last year, Hardik Pandya’s brother, Krunal Pandya was detained at the Mumbai International Airport over suspicion of carrying undisclosed gold and other valuables.

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