iPhone 13 Units Worth Rs 42.86 Crore Seized by DRI at Mumbai Airport

The iPhone 13 units were being smuggled to India through Hong Kong under the guise of ‘memory cards’, to avoid attracting customs duties.


iPhone 13 consignments worth over Rs 42 crore, compromising more than 3,600 units of Apple’s latest smartphones, were seized at the Mumbai airport. In a bust conducted by the Mumbai unit of the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), it was found that the iPhone 13 consignments were being shipped in from Hong Kong, and were being imported as ‘memory cards’ – seemingly in a bid to avoid customs duties that are levied on the said smartphones.

“After developing precise intelligence, officers of DRI inspected two consignments on Friday. These consignments had arrived from Hong Kong, at the Air Cargo Complex (ACC), Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. In the import documents, the goods were declared as ‘memory cards’. Physical examination, however, revealed that the consignments actually contained a total of 3,646 iPhone 13 mobile phones,” read a DRI statement on the incident.

The total value of the consignment is said to be Rs 42.86 crore. In contrast, the consignment that was seized was declared to be of Rs 80 lakh in value. The latter also included 12 units of the recently launched Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone, as well as a unit of the Apple Watch smartwatch. It was not declared which version of the Apple Watch was seized.

“The attempted smuggling of such high value electronic items into the country, especially in such large volumes, is not only in violation of Customs laws and resultant evasion of duty, but also has the potential to impact the growth of domestic industry, which was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and has just started recovery. iPhone 13 was launched just 2 months ago and its smuggling in such huge volume shows how quickly the smugglers capitalise on every opportunity,” the DRI statement further read.

Apple launched its iPhone 13 series earlier this year in September, with an entry level variant of the series costing Rs 69,900. Higher variants of the smartphone lineup cost as much as over Rs 1.8 lakh for each smartphone, and attract around 44 percent customs duties for imports.