He helped the rich and the mighty to acquire swanky foreign cars, which were the neighbours’ envy. His clientele included DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s grandsons and BCCI chief and India Cement’s owner N Srinivasan.
A fugitive hailing from Thadiyur in Kerala, Alex C Joseph (51), had facilitated tax evasion running into crores through the import of luxury cars by his rich clientele. Now, he is absconding after the CBI registered a case. Fearing arrest, he approached the High Court for anticipatory bail, but was denied the same on Wednesday. According to the counter-affidavits filed by the CBI’s ACB and the Deputy Director of DRI, Joseph was engaged in the import of high-value foreign cars business for several years. Import of these vehicles were permitted only on Transfer of Residence Rules under the Customs Act.
After fetching orders, he ordered the required number of cars abroad with dealers of used cars. Thereafter, he hired the assistance of Indian workers being repatriated to India on cancellation of work permits. These cars would be consigned to India through Chennai, Mumbai and Cochin ports in the names of those repatriated workers. During a recent raid in the city and suburbs, the CBI had seized such cars from the possession of Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of M K Stalin and Durai Dayanidhi, son of M K Alagiri, besides N Srinivasan.
However, he managed to escape from India and fled to the UAE, where he established his business under an assumed name and passport. He floated a car dealership there and kept pushing cars to India. Interestingly, he was arrested on landing at the Hyderabad airport on November 6, 2011 under a fake passport in the name of Abey John.
After securing bail, he had been absconding from the date of registration of the FIR by the CBI in the present case. During the course of investigation in this case, a total of 33 luxury cars like Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Land Cruiser Parado, BMW and Mercedes Benz, Hummer — all imported from abroad were seized by the CBI. The probe was in the initial stages, and the presence of Joseph was very much needed to find his role and that of the other accused involved in the case, and also to know the modus operandi of smuggling cars from abroad by violating pre and post import provisions, the counters added.