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Phone dealer to face action for duty evasion

mumbai Updated: Feb 11, 2010 01:17 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times
Phone dealer to face action for duty evasion

The mobile phone dealer on whose complaint the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested two Customs men for allegedly taking bribe and keeping a high-end mobile phone as guarantee, will now face action from the Customs department.

The Customs authorities have begun the process of recovering duty, penalty and fine from the dealer — whose name has been withheld by both the agencies — for walking out of the airport without paying duty on 37 high-end mobile phones.

The dealer, who had come from London on January 30 with 37 iPhones, approached Air Customs Officer Prashant Deshmukh and declared the phones. However, Deshmukh allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 1 lakh, which was later reduced to Rs 40,000.

Deshmukh allegedly took Rs 20,000 from the dealer and released 36 phones. He kept one phone as guarantee for the remaining Rs 20,000.

The anti-corruption branch of the CBI arrested Deshmukh and a sepoy Shah Afroze Alam Siddique on February 3. The CBI also recovered the phone from Deshmukh, which he had kept as guarantee. The duo was released on bail the next day by a Special Court for CBI cases.

“He (the mobile phone dealer) would be asked to pay 35.7 per cent duty on the value of the phones,” a senior Customs official said, requesting anonymity. Besides, the Customs also plans to levy fine and penalty on the dealer for evading duty.

BS Nunwal, Additional Commissioner of Customs, Airport, said action would be taken to recover the government revenue.

Another official said Customs authorities have started taking out details of the phones and their total value. “The dealer would have to go through adjudication proceeding as he took the phones out of the airport without paying duty,” the official said.

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