Khat leaves worth Rs 1.17 crore seized in Chennai, aeronautical engineer held

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Chennai, Apr 23 (PTI): Customs officials in Chennai seized over 40 kg of 'Khat leaves' worth Rs 1.17 crore sent from Kenya and arrested a 27-year-old aeronautical engineer in this connection, the department said on Friday.

Khat (Catha edulls), also known as 'Miraa', is a stimulant drug and prohibited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

The shrub, widely cultivated in East Africa and South Yemen, is mainly chewed for its 'soporific' effect while some use it for 'dependence producing ability', Customs Commissioner Rajan Chowdhry said in a release.

Department sleuths acting on specific inputs that some narcotics drug was being smuggled into India from Africa seized five parcels which arrived from Nairobi at the Foreign Post Office, here.

Declared as 'wooden flower vases', the parcels were cut opened by the officers who recovered 46.8 kg Khat leaves concealed in 11 vases.

The aeronautical engineer, who was arrested, is employed in a city-based information technology company, he said.

In March 2020, the department had seized khat leaves worth Rs 40 lakh sent from Ethiopia.PTI VIJ BN BALA BALA