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Customs probes 18 commercial fraud cases booked during lockdown involving goods worth Rs 170 crore

The officials said specific interventions have been made during the lockdown period through booking commercial fraud cases in exports to safeguard government revenue by preventing its leakage.

Published: 03rd July 2020 06:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2020 06:31 PM   |  A+A-

Fraud

For representational purposes

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Customs preventive officials here are investigating 18 cases of commercial frauds, booked during the COVID-induced lockdown period, involving goods worth Rs 170 crore being exported to Pakistan, UAE and African nations among others, officials said on Friday.
They said the consignments are under investigation for alleged over-valuation and mis-declaration of goods.

The officials said specific interventions have been made during the lockdown period through booking commercial fraud cases in exports to safeguard government revenue by preventing its leakage.

“Around 18 such cases are being investigated covering goods valued at around Rs 170 crore,” a senior customs preventive official said.

Explaining the modus operandi, the official said “fly-by-night” operators (who export or import goods once and then vanish) are found to be engaged in these commercial frauds which are part of trade-based money laundering.

These operators register their companies in congested areas like Seelampur and Uttam Nagar in Delhi to get into illegal export in order to avoid their easy tracing by the customs authorities, he said.

The goods being exported through these consignments under probe by the customs preventive officials were mainly ready-made garments and automobile parts, the official said.

In all these cases, the consignments were destined for Karachi (Pakistan), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and different African countries, the officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 24 announced a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Giving details of action taken by the customs (preventive) Delhi commissionerate, the officials said revenue of Rs 143 crore was garnered during financial year 2019-20, which was 116 per cent more than Rs 66 crore earned during 2018-19.

Of these Rs 143 crore, Rs 45 crore was through preventive action, i.e. by checking cases of outright smuggling of gold, import frauds and undervaluation of goods among others, the officials said.

Further, revenue of over Rs 8 crore has been garnered by Delhi customs preventive commissionerate, by way of preventive activities during April-June, 2020, they said.

Mentioning cases booked by the customs preventive officials during the lockdown, the officials said three cases of drug seizures were made last month and a juvenile was apprehended for his involvement. The drugs, being illegally brought in from the US, were worth more than Rs 50 lakh.

In addition to this, the department had also seized 1.7 kg of cocaine in two cases booked during December and January this year, they said.

The officials said seized around 69 lakh sticks of foreign-origin cigarettes, valued at around Rs 9.87 crore, was effected during the financial year 2019-20 from Foreign Post Office and railway stations among others.

Further, 4,835 kgs of seized cigarettes of foreign-origin, valued at Rs 2.28 crore, were destructed in the last financial year, they said.

The officials said disposal of valuable seized goods resulted into realisation of Rs 61.37 crore of revenue during 2019-20. Besides this, foreign currency worth Rs 3.86 crore, which was seized in smuggling cases, was deposited with the State Bank of India (SBI). 

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