Luxury car scam kingpin arrested
Sumit Walia, 26, alleged kingpin of a nationwide luxury car import scam, has told Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths that he imported cars allegedly in the name of diplomats and embassies. He did this to evade customs duty. Rajesh Ahuja reports.delhi Updated: May 16, 2011 01:39 IST
Sumit Walia, 26, alleged kingpin of a nationwide luxury car import scam, has told Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths that he imported cars allegedly in the name of diplomats and embassies. He did this to evade customs duty.
So far, names of Vietnam and North Korean embassies have allegedly figured in the investigation. Walia has allegedly admitted to importing around 40 luxury cars, which have been confiscated by the DRI.
According to documents submitted in the court of duty magistrate Arvind Bansal — where Walia was produced on Sunday and remanded to a day’s judicial custody — one Aston Martin car, allegedly imported duty-free in the name of Do Trong Heiu
(a Vietnamese diplomat), was seized by DRI.
The document further states, “Sumit Walia admitted to have imported another car —a Bentley model 2010 — in a similar manner...” According to DRI, in these two cars alone, Walia evaded duty to the tune of R1.42 crore.
DRI sources said end-users of these cars are corporate bigwigs and celebrities. DRI’s Delhi zone additional director general RK Sharma said the matter is being investigated keeping in view all aspects. “I cannot divulge any details at the moment,” he added.
Although Walia claimed before the court that he was beaten up and coerced into giving the statement, DRI sleuths said Walia’s statement has been corroborated by Rajiv Sood and a custom house agent — Gurinder Singh Prince.
According to DRI, Walia imported cars in the name of various front men, by paying them R1 lakh for their services. The DRI said most cars came from a UK-based dealer named Ashwin Kalra. The cars imported by Walia were first registered in the UK and sold to Kalra’s firms, which then exported them to Walia’s front men in India as new cars.
Second-hand cars attract a basic custom duty of 100% and new cars can be imported by paying a duty of 60%. Walia evaded duty by showing the second-hand cars as new.
So far, the DRI has calculated duty loss of Rs 11.42 crore in the scam.