Customs strip-searched my son at Thiruvananthapuram airport: Rajya Sabha MP Abdul Wahab
The incident occurred on November 1 night when Wahab's son arrived at Thiruvananthapuram international airport from Sharjah after attending a wedding abroad.
Rajya Sabha MP P V Abdul Wahab's son was recently intercepted by Customs at the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram on his return from the United Arab Emirates and allegedly strip-searched without following the due procedure.
The Parliamentarian, representing the Indian Union Muslim League, said he has shot off a complaint to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking a probe into the incident. The incident occurred on November 1 night when Wahab's son arrived at Thiruvananthapuram international airport from Sharjah after attending a wedding abroad.
Claiming that Customs officials misused their power and authority, Wahab claimed that his son was taken to the Ananthapuri hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, where he was strip searched and then made to undergo an X-Ray, following which he was brought back to the airport.
Speaking to the news agency Press Trust of India, Wahab said: "According to the information I have been given, such an extreme step requires the approval of a magistrate. Customs officials cannot do it on their own as it violates one's right to privacy, and there are procedures in place for the same in the Customs' rules."
The Customs, on its part, defended its personnel and said that inspections at airports had been stepped up given the rising incidents of gold being smuggled into the country from abroad.
While it is yet to react to the Parliamentarian's allegations officially, Customs sources said that officials at the airport were only doing their duty.
A Customs source, on condition of anonymity, said there had been a spike in the attempts to smuggle gold by concealing it within body cavities.
Meanwhile, local media reports, quoting Customs officials, claimed that there was a lookout circular out against the IUML MP's son and that he was not strip searched. However, MP Wahab denied the charges and claimed that officials were aware that the person being detained was his son, who is also a director at Indus Motors.
While agreeing that it was okay to intercept and detain someone at the airport on the grounds of suspicion or if their names were flagged on the computer, measures like strip searches and X-Ray scans were extreme.
The incident came to light when Wahab mentioned it during his speech at an event recently. He sought to give it a communal twist when he alleged that maybe it was his son's beard that aroused the suspicion of the Customs.
With PTI inputs