Importer held for Rs 5 crore duty evasion | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Importer held for Rs 5 crore duty evasion

An importer of steel products has been arrested for alleged duty evasion of Rs 5 crore, reports Manish Pachouly.

mumbai Updated: Mar 04, 2010 01:36 IST
Manish Pachouly

An importer of steel products has been arrested for alleged duty evasion of Rs 5 crore.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Tuesday arrested Rajesh Agarwal, who runs Viking International FZE in Fujairah, UAE, for undervaluing consignments to avoid full payment of Customs duty for the last two years.

The DRI also alleged that Agarwal has transferred more than Rs 20 crore through hawala (illegal channel of transferring money) to his overseas bank account in Dubai.

On Wednesday, Agarwal was produced before the 3rd additional chief metropolitan magistrate’s court and remanded to judicial custody till March 15.

The DRI, which is investigating the case since November, said Agarwal imported steel products from the US, Europe, South Africa, Japan and China and instead of showing the import directly from these countries, he allegedly routed the same through his firm.

The DRI alleged that Agarwal set up four companies in his relatives’ names in Mumbai and the imports were shown from his UAE firm to these companies.

DRI alleged that though Agarwal purchased steel products at a higher cost, the same was undervalued to the extent of 30 to 60 per cent while sending through his Viking International to evade Customs duty. The DRI also found that the bills and packing lists for Viking International were prepared in one of Agarwal’s firms in Goregaon and alleged that Viking International has no office at Fujairah, but only a postbag facility.

But Agarwal’s lawyer Ravi Hirani said his client was falsely implicated in the case.

“There is no under valuation and all past consignments of similar goods have been cleared unconditionally at more or less the same value,” said Agarwal’s other counsel Sujay Kantawala.

The DRI has detained 65 containers that had been shipped to India by Viking International. But Kantawala said the Bombay High Court had allowed clearance of the containers on certain conditions last week.