Superbike smuggling racket busted
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) claims to have busted a major ‘superbike’ smuggling racket and has seized 73 expensive motorcycles from Mumbai and Pune.
Some of these belong to Bollywood personalities, including actor Ajay Devgan and filmmakers Sanjay Gupta and Rohit Shetty.
DRI officials, however, said the film personalities were not involved in the racket — only the role of sellers of the motorcycles was being probed.
DRI officials have taken possession of motorcycles belonging to Devgan and Shetty.
“They have not impounded my bike,” Gupta said. “I showed them the papers and they are clear.”
A person from Devgan’s office said: “Devgan is himself a victim (of the racket)… he has agreed to cooperate with DRI authorities in every possible manner.”
A senior DRI official, requesting anonymity, said importers used to get the motorcycles from Singapore as spare parts and assemble them here. Import of a new motorcycle has a Customs duty of 60 per cent. But motorcycle spare parts have a duty of only 24 per cent.
The motorcycles, of Honda and Suzuki brands, seized during raids on Thursday, cost between Rs 7 and 15 lakh and can cross speeds of 200 kmph. The DRI, which is now investigating the duty evasion involved in the smuggling, believes it could be worth Rs 4-5 crore. However, officials suspect that around 400 such motorcycles are registered in the state, which would take the duty evasion to more than Rs 30 crore.
About 20 premises in the two cities were raided. While some motorcycles were picked up from the residences of owners, others were seized from showrooms at Tardeo, Grant Road, Lamington Road, Mumbai Central and Andheri. No arrests have been made so far.
Suspecting foul play the DRI approached the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and sought registration numbers of the superbikes. The DRI short-listed showrooms that sold these motorcycles and gathered information about those who assembled. Officials found that many sellers had submitted fake bills of entry and other documents to show that the motorcycles were imported new.
The DRI is now looking for buyers like youngsters who use such motorcycles for racing in Bandra. “From them and other buyers we would come to know the sellers.”