Officials of the excise and taxation department claimed to have seized 170 kg gold jewellery decorated with precious stones like diamond and others from four persons who were transporting it in a chartered plane from Ahmedabad to Ludhiana at Sahnewal airport on Thursday afternoon.
The four persons, who claimed themselves as employees of city-based Kalyan Jewellers, estimated cost of the jewellery around `60 crore; however, the department is yet to ascertain the market value of the seized ornaments.
Divulging details, deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC) Rishipal Singh said the gold was in the form of jewellery, including diamond-studded, and platinum.
"Following a tip-off, officials of the department reached the airport and asked for documents from the persons transporting the jewellery. They produced some documents, but those proved to be irrelevant following which the jewellery was seized," said the DETC.
"According to papers produced by the persons accompanying the jewellery belongs to Kalyan Jewellers," said the officer, adding that the jewellery was first transported from Trichur and Coimbtore to Ahmedabad, and from there it was transported to Ludhiana in the chartered plane.
"There was no information with the department about the shifting of this jewellery. Even the virtual information collection centre was not informed about the shifting," said Rishipal Singh, adding that which prima facie reflects the owner's "intention" to "evade tax".
The transporters purportedly told the department that it was a part of stock transfer exercise of the company.
Meanwhile, officials of the income tax department also checked the documents to ascertain whether there was any tax evasion or not.
Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) Tejbir Singh Sidhu said in the presence of heavy police force the jewellery was shifted from the airport to the government treasurer, where it was deposited.
Meanwhile, the department has served a notice to Kalyan Jewellers in this connection, asking them to produce relevant documents.
It is learnt that Kalyan Jewellers are all set to inaugurate two showrooms in the city.
As per the Punjab Value Added Tax (VAT) Act: the rate of 1% is payable on import of jewellery to the state, but if the intention to evade tax is proved a penalty of 51% on the total cost of the jewellry will be levied.