DRI seized goods imported under SEZ Act provisions
The seizure of unauthorised goods including China-made firecrackers by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Pithampur last month has now revealed that they were imported under provisions of Special Economic Zone Act, 2005.indore Updated: Oct 02, 2016 17:35 IST
The seizure of unauthorised goods including China-made firecrackers by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Pithampur last month has now revealed that they were imported under provisions of Special Economic Zone Act, 2005, which restrains government agencies from checking them unless they have intelligence about wrongdoing.
The DRI intercepted nine containers belonging to Delhi-based company Prestige Polymers Ltd after receiving specific intelligence that its containers had goods other than what was declared in the company’s documents.
As per the Act, SEZ containers cannot be examined unless government agencies have specific intelligence that containers have goods other what is declared by the importer. The agencies can only check labels pasted on them.
“This raises questions over misuse SEZ Act. Any slip-up by intelligence agencies can lead to import of explosives, contrabands etc which can land in wrong hands,” an SEZ official said wishing anonymity. “(Union) Ministry of commerce knows about this (loophole),” the official added.
Of more than nine containers opened till September 29, China made firecrackers worth Rs 3.78 crore were seized. Imported firecrackers are a restricted item for which special permit is required which the company did not have. These containers were shown as carrying adhesive tapes. The DRI team did not find company’s office or building in Pithampur’s tax-exempted SEZ where it has been allocated land.
Likewise, DRI seized high-end dietary supplements like muscle building food worth Rs 2.50 crore which were declared as stationery items from Dubai. In addition, LED TV accessories, chemicals etc were seized which were also misdeclared by the company, sources said. The samples of chemicals have been sent outside MP for testing the actual content.
According to DRI officials, three summons were issued to Prestige Polymers Pvt Ltd MD Manish Bhalla this month but he didn’t respond after which Directorate mentioned him “as absconding” in the report sent to Mumbai. Prestige Polymers Pvt Ltd managing director Manish Bhalla didn’t respond to HT phone calls.