Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jet chairman's wife flies with pug, fined Rs 36,000

MUMBAI: Anita Goyal, wife of Jet Airways chairman NareshGoyal, was detained at Mumbai airport for carrying her pet dog, a Maltese breed, on a Jet Airways flight from London last Saturday.

After the flight landed, Anita was stopped by customs officials for carrying the dog against rules, which are mentioned on the airline's website as well. Only after she paid up Rs 36,200, including duty, fine and a penalty, was she allowed to take her pet home.

As per the customs rules, a pet cannot be carried or imported into the country in a plane's cabin unless it is accompanying a disabled passenger or is being flown due to transfer of residence.

Due clearances from the vets and a licence from wildlife, import and trade authorities in India are supposed to be carried before a pet is allowed carriage on an aircraft. Jet Airways also specifies that a pet can be flown only in the cargo hold. Sources said Anita Goyal had a certificate from a vet, but not the other documents. It's unclear how Jet authorities in London allowed her to board the aircraft with her dog.

Airport customs commissioner, P M Saleem confirmed the incident but refused to comment on it.

A Jet Airways spokesperson said that Anita was carrying a Maltese dog. "But the dog was in the cargo and not in the cabin. It was in a pet basket required for the transfer. She had all the necessary certification and documents. She paid all charges required in compliance," said the spokesperson.

At 11am on June 8, Anita landed at Mumbai airport along with her dog where she was detained for questioning. She reportedly told the customs officials that she was aware that dogs are not supposed to be carried inside the cabin. "However, since she is supposed to be in India for more than a month, she decided to carry the dog along on the flight," said a source. "She had to be stopped as the pet was illegally carried in the cabin. Also, she did not have the necessary licence from Indian wildlife and import authorities," he added.

As per Indian customs rules, a pet from another country can be flown only in the cargo unless the passenger is transferring residence from another country to India. "Live animals cannot be carried in the cabin. Service animals accompanying a disabled guest in the passenger cabin do not fall under this category," state the pet travel rules listed by Jet Airways.

A wildlife quarantine officer was called upon to check and clear the dog. The customs levied a fine under the Import Trade Control (ITC) order. Apart from the duty on the dog, Anita was charged a penalty and a fine for violating the rules. She paid a total amount of Rs 36,200. "The value of the dog was Rs 45,000 on which a duty of Rs 16,200 (36%) was charged. She paid a fine of Rs 12,000 and a penalty of Rs 8,000," said an airport official.

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