The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) recently busted a major racket involving smuggling of expensive imported furniture and glassware.
This happened when they seized two containers with goods worth Rs 2.5 crore, smuggled from London via Dubai. A part of the consignment allegedly belongs to two prominent city-based fashion designers who also deal in upscale furniture and chandeliers.
The containers, which arrived by sea at Mumbai port, had about 385 packages and were in the name of a Kerala resident who had worked as a labourer in Dubai, and had just returned to India. With their investigation still at a preliminary stage, the agency has withheld his name. The packages inside the two containers have the names of the actual recipients.
Of these, 21 packages of furniture, chandeliers and glassware bear the names of the two designers. The DRI is verifying if these packages were in fact meant for the designers. “Before summoning them, we want to get enough evidence as the documentation is in the name of somebody else,” a senior DRI official said requesting anonymity.
The DRI said the first container reached Mumbai port in the last week of November, shown as the unaccompanied baggage of the Dubai labourer who was to arrive here separately by air. With the Customs Department, which collects duty at the port, failing to notice the smuggling attempt, the container was cleared and routed to Delhi.
A week later, the second container arrived using the same modus operandi, except that this time the DRI got a tip-off, and seized the container. They also told their counterparts in Delhi about the first container, which was then seized from the farmhouse of a prominent car showroom owner there.
The value of the second container — worth Rs 78 lakh, and Rs 1.5 crore after adding duty and local taxes — was declared as Rs 38,000. The declared value of the Delhi container – actually worth close to Rs 60 lakh, and Rs 1 crore after duty and local taxes – was around Rs 70,000.