The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) unearthed an alleged fraud worth Rs150 crore on Monday and arrested the owner of a Noida-based unit manufacturing gold jewellery. The unit is in Noida Special Economic Zone (NSEZ).
Smuggled gold has been in high demand in India post demonetisation since it is being considered a safe commodity to launder black money that is mostly available in India in old high denomination notes. In the wake of demonetisation, DRI is probing the misuse of duty free gold imports into the country, says a DRI release.
The purpose of the fraud allegedly committed by Mahalakshmi jewellers was to “smuggle/divert” high priority gold imported from Dubai into the domestic Indian market by evading 10% basic customs duty.
It is estimated that more than Rs150 crore worth of imported duty free bullion has been diverted into the domestic market. The mastermind is also believed to have diverted imported gold bars procured under bond from banks/nominated agencies for manufacturing jewellery, the handout read.
In multiple searches conducted by DRI on the business and residential premises of the mastermind, a total of 40 kg gold valued Rs12 crore has been seized and the mastermind, who reportedly owned the unit in NSEZ, has been arrested and remanded in judicial custody.
DRI, the apex customs enforcement arm of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), intercepted a live export consignment declared as gold jewellery (22 carat) exported from NSEZ at Delhi Cargo terminal. On examination, the consignment was found to contain mostly ‘copper chains’ with zero gold content. Another consignment of the exporter was intercepted at NSEZ factory premises ready for export to UAE.
In all, out of 35 kg declared gold jewellery, about 85-90% was found to be copper alloy and other low-value metal alloys. The actual imported high purity gold was diverted to the local market, the DRI statement said.
Follow up searches are being conducted by DRI officers.