Date (import) gone wrong: Mumbai bizmen held for causing ₹9-crore loss to government
The Mumbai zone of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested four businessmen from Mumbai and Navi Mumbai for their alleged involvement in illegal import of dry dates from Pakistani traders by routing them through Oman and causing a loss of ₹9 crore to the government by evading duty.
DRI sources said after the Pulwama attack, the government of India increased the duty on various goods imported from Pakistan.
The duty on dates went up by 200%. Before the attack, the duty was around 30-50%.
So, Indian traders with help from their Pakistani counterparts started trading illegally through Oman.
DRI officials seized 16 containers with more than 400 tonnes of dates from JNPT on Thursday.
Containers were also intercepted at Chennai and Gujarat ports, sources said.
Those containers also belonged to the same Mumbai group and further investigation is being carried out.
The DRI officials have arrested Dongri resident Imran Teli, Kharghar residents Shewak Makhija and Mohandas Kataria and Byculla resident Irfan Nursumar.
Teli is proprietor of KBN Tradelink. Makhija has a firm Eshwar Traders. Nursumar is Teli’s brother-in-law. After Teli met Makhija and Kataria, Pakistani residents who took Indian citizenship a few years ago, they decided to illegally import dates.
“The probe revealed that Makhija and Kataria used their contacts in Pakistan and Nursumar’s network to route the consignments. Teli’s firm’s import-export code was used for the deal,” said a DRI official.
All the accused have been charged with sections 104, 135(1)(a) and 135(1)(b) of Customs Act.
Their offence is non-bailable. Further investigation is being carried out to know more about the group and also the firms that gave them the consignments from Pakistan, another DRI official said.