Was Alex Joseph, an alleged car smuggler, in the national capital to meet an influential politician when he was arrested by CBI sleuths?
CBI sources said Joseph claimed that he was here to meet the politician in connection with a deal related to a Gulf-based company, but refused to elaborate.
Based on a tip-off, the sources said their teams carried out searches at a high-end hotel at a Tony locality in the national capital on Saturday night, during which Joseph, who had been on the run for last 11 months, was apprehended.
They said there was no corroborative evidence to buttress his statement and besides, the claims have nothing to do with the duty evasion case against him.
When contacted, official sources of the agency, however, refused to comment on the claims made by Joseph.
"He was arrested in Delhi from a hotel where he had gone to meet somebody," a CBI official said.
He was nabbed in connection with CBI's probe in car import scam in which several high-end cars were sold to politicians and businessmen allegedly by evading customs duty.
The cars, imported by Joseph in connivance with officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, were sold to some big businessmen and politicians including DMK leader M K Stalin and BCCI Chief N Srinivasan, CBI sources alleged.
During its investigation, CBI had seized 33 luxury cars like Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Land Cruiser Prado, BMW, Merecedes Benz and Hummer. CBI has alleged that 52-year-old Joseph imported high-end foreign cars for several years, permitted only on Transfer of Residence Rules under Customs Act.
After getting orders, he allegedly ordered cars at the foreign country with used car dealers and later hired Indian working class nationals being repatriated to India on cancellation of work permits, CBI sources said.
These cars would then be consigned to India through Chennai,Mumbai and Cochin ports in the names of these workers.
Several cases have been registered against Joseph at various places in India by the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax, Customs, DRI and Kerala police. However, Joseph managed to escape from India and fled to UAE where he allegedly established his business under a fictitious name and passport.
He is alleged to have started a car dealership, apart from other businesses and kept pushing cars to India under the guise of a fictitious passport in the name of Abey John.