Sunday, May 5, 2013

Duty Evasion Scam: DRI sends notice to Lalit Modi for 18.5cr duty evasion

Mumbai: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has issued a show-cause notice to former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi for Rs 18.5 crore duty evasion in the import of an aircraft in 2008.

The aircraft was for Modi’s private use but he created dummy companies to import the aircraft by falsely availing Customs duty exemption, the notice said.

The DRI has relied on the various e-mails between Modi, his former employee and confidante Deepa Palekar and other facilitators to substantiate its claims.

Also, the registration number of the aircraft was VT-RAK, where RAK stood for the first alphabet of his three children, it said.

The Rs 100 crore Bombardier Challenger 300 aircraft was imported by Vile Parlebased Golden Wings Pvt Ltd (GWPL) from Peel Aviation, Ireland, for a lease amount of Rs 10.85 crore for a period of 7 years beginning May 2008.

“Investigations reveal that Mr Lalit K Modi orchestrated a series of events to acquire an aircraft for his personal use,” the notice said. “Peel Aviation is a corporate veil to mask the actual owner of the aircraft, Modi.”

Customs duty exemptions are granted if aircraft is imported for non-scheduled passenger services or non-scheduled (charter) services. Modi’s aircraft was not used for public transport of passengers considering that Golden Wings does not have a published tariff and was not its authorized business activity. It also did not undertake any charter services, the notice said.

Modi had used the aircraft for his trips related to IPL in the country and also abroad. Eighty six per cent of flying hours were used to transport Modi, it said.

The import of spare parts for the aircraft also amounts to duty violation of Rs 45 lakh, it said. The aircraft’s last trip was to United Kingdom on July 20, 2010 and since then it is parked at Beggin Hills airport. The show-cause notice has also been issued to Palekar as well as GWPL directors Pradeep Thampi, and Tanveer Romani.
C Unnikrishnan TNN

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