Mumbai | Jagran Sports Desk: The customs department in Mumbai has seized a couple of luxury wrist watches of Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya while he was returning to India on Sunday from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following the conclusion of the ICC T20I World Cup 2021. In a statement, the customs department said that the 28-year-old did not have the bill receipt of the watches.

"Customs Department seized two wrist watches worth Rs 5 crores of cricketer Hardik Pandya, on Sunday night (November 14) when he was returning from Dubai. The cricketer allegedly did not have the bill receipt of the watches," the Mumbai Customs Department said, as reported by news agency ANI.

However, Hardik, who had a disappointing T20I World Cup in the UAE, denied the charges and said that he had "voluntarily went to Mumbai airport customs counter to declare the items". He said that "wrong perceptions have been floating around on social media regarding my declaration to customs at Mumbai airport, and I would like to clarify about what transpired".

"I had voluntarily declared all the items that I'd lawfully purchased from Dubai and was ready to pay whatever duties that needed to be paid. As a matter of fact, the customs department had asked for all purchase documents which were submitted; however customs is doing proper valuation for duty which I've already confirmed to pay," he tweeted.

"The cost of the watch is approximately Rs 1.5 crore and not Rs 5 crore as per the rumours floating around on social media. I'm a law-abiding citizen of the country and I respect all government agencies. I've received all the cooperation from the Mumbai customs department and I've assured my full cooperation to them and will provide them with whatever legitimate documents they need to get this matter cleared. All allegations against me of crossing any legal boundaries are totally unfounded," he added.

Notably, the incident comes months after his brother Krunal Pandya was also detained at the Mumbai Airport by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for allegedly being in possession of undisclosed gold and other valuables. According to reports, Krunal was allegedly carrying gold watches worth USD 1.15 lakh. 

Meanwhile, Hardik has been facing the wrath of the fans following a disappointing performance at the T20I World Cup. The 28-year-old failed to pick even a single wicket and scored just 69 runs from five games. Following his dismal performance, Hardik was dropped from India's squad for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand.

"Hardik Pandya has not yet recovered from his lower back injury. However, if the former T20 captain (Kohli in this case) was bent on having him at No 6 as a specialist batter, Chetan (chief national selector Chetan Sharma) and his team had to relent," news agency PTI quoted a BCCI source as saying.

India's T20I squad for New Zealand: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravinchandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel and Mohammed Siraj.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma