Sunday, September 22, 2013

4 Customs men suspended in 100cr duty con

Mumbai: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has unearthed a Rs 100-crore scam where imports were undervalued for duty evasion and also, prohibited goods were cleared with the connivance of Customs officials. Four Customs officials posted at Indore—assistant commissioner S Chattaraj, superintendents Vinayak Joshi and Mangilal Chouhan, and inspector Rajesh Purania—have been suspended.

Kingpin Kirit Shrimankar effected imports through 18 fictitious companies and indulged in proxy imports through four others who denied importing anything. The goods, including ladies innerwear, chatons and garment accessories, were misdeclared as fabric and gift sets to evade duty. Similarly, prohibited goods like sex toys and Chlorodifluoromethane, a restricted item because of its ozone depletion potential, was imported and cleared. In some cases, only 4% of the actual value was declared.

The goods were imported from China through Nhava Sheva port and transported to Inland Container Depot, Dhannad at Indore, for clearance. “The goods were then transported back to Mumbai for sale, which defies commercial logic,” said an official. “Such imports by proxy or benami importers provide smuggling syndicate a cover to evade taxes and duties as the goods are sold entirely in cash,” said an official.

Shrimankar and his associate Manjit Singh had moved the SC in June saying their fundamental rights have been threatened. The SC has granted interim protection. The matter will be heard on September 24.
C Unnikrishnan TNN

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