Did UK tip off Customs about Sheetal’s gems? | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Did UK tip off Customs about Sheetal’s gems?

On a day when Sheetal Mafatlal, president of Mafatlal Luxury, was remanded to judicial custody till June 12 for allegedly smuggling gold ornaments worth more than Rs 53.67 lakh into India from London, HT learnt that the government has mechanisms in place with various European government to check such practices.

delhi Updated: Jun 09, 2009 02:03 IST
HT Correspondents

On a day when Sheetal Mafatlal, president of Mafatlal Luxury, was remanded to judicial custody till June 12 for allegedly smuggling gold ornaments worth more than Rs 53.67 lakh into India from London, HT learnt that the government has mechanisms in place with various European government to check such practices.

The European countries inform the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) if an Indian applies for a refund of the 12.5 per cent valued added tax (VAT) that those countries charge on high-value items.

People are entitled to a VAT refund if they carry high-value goods out of those countries. However, it is mainly the UK that scrupulously keeps the DRI in the loop.

“Duty on such items is about 36 per cent. On the basis of the information we get from the DRI, we intercept such travellers if they don’t declare the goods,” said a customs officer.

Such an offence carries a maximum imprisonment of seven years. It is not known if the customs department received any information on Sheetal.

The bail plea of Sheetal, wife of industrialist Atulya Mafatlal, can be taken up on Tuesday at the earliest.

Her lawyer Satish Manes-hinde argued that she had inherited the seized ornaments from her parents and in-laws.

Customs prosecutor AR Gupte, however, said at least 90 per cent of the ornaments, 50 pieces in all, were new. “And even if the ornaments were meant for personal use, she was required to declare them,” he said.