Customs recover Indian currency from Pak women, fined Rs 9.5 lakh

Shopping plans of seven women from Pakistan, who were on their way to Amritsar from Lahore, went awry on Friday when the Customs officials at Attari found them carrying Indian currency, in violation of norms. The women finally had to pay 50 per cent of the amount they were carrying to enter India.

"Non-Indian nationals cannot carry Indian currency. Any non-Indian national can bring $ 5,000 US dollars, but Indian currency. In the case of Indian nationals, they can only carry Rs 7,500," a Customs official told The Indian Express.

The women, who wanted to purchase jewellery and clothes in Amritsar for a wedding, were carrying Rs 19.25 lakh in Indian currency. They ended up paying Rs 9.54 lakh as redemption fine and penalty, sources said. According to sources, the women told the Customs officials that they exchanged Pakistani currency to Indian currency from Western Union in Pakistan.

Late on Friday night, The Indian Express managed to track the seven women in a jewellery showroom on the Mall Road in Amritsar. Among them was a young woman, who is set to get married in March and had come to Amritsar for shopping.

"As soon as Customs officials recovered Indian currency from us, we were humiliated. In no time, there were sniffer dogs around us and our baggage. While the the family of the girl set to married carried more than Rs 4 lakh in Indian currency, we carried the rest," a woman said. The women now plan to move an application with the authorities concerned, demanding a refund of the fine.

"I had been to the UK and US and carry their currencies. No one ever stopped me there. I had travelled to India in February this year and carried Indian currency through the old joint check post and no one stopped me. This is unfair," said the woman who is set to get married.

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