DRI report reveals increase in import-export fraud, smuggling cases in Mumbai
The monetary worth of seized smuggled items increased from ₹209.23 crore in 2016-17 to ₹233.68 crore in 2017-18 – an increase of 11.69%.mumbai Updated: May 20, 2018 00:23 IST
Statistics released by the Mumbai unit of the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) has revealed that there was a considerable rise in the number of commercial fraud cases and smuggling seizures in the financial year 2017-2018, compared to the preceding year.
The monetary worth of seized smuggled items, such as gold, red sanders, cigaretters, and electronic gadgets, increased from ₹209.23 crore in 2016-17 to ₹233.68 crore in 2017-18 – an increase of 11.69%.
The number of fraud cases related to import, in the same time period, has increased from 88 to 126 – an increase of 43%. These include cases of misdeclaration of description and quantity, and undervaluation. Citing an example of misdeclaration, a senior DRI officer said, “There are cases of misdeclaration to claim import benefits. For example, items are sometimes falsely declared to be life-saving drugs or medical equipment, which qualifies them for import benefits.” In undervaluation, importers undervalue imported goods to evade duties. The total amount of duties evaded by importers increased by 848.69%, from ₹130.13 crore in 2016-17 to ₹1234.53 crore in 2017-18.
Statistics of fraud cases related to exports reveal a similar trend, showing an increase in the number of cases from 13 to 16. Export benefits are granted to exporters to strengthen the export sector. Under the duty drawback scheme, an exporter is entitled to a cash refund, equivalent to a certain percentage of the export amount. However, in some cases, exporters inflate the cost to claim additional drawback. The total amount involved in such cases increased from ₹7.64 crore to ₹52.55 crore.
The total number of arrests made by the DRI increased from 33 to 54. In 2017-18, it detained 10 people under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA), compared to two in 2016-17. The total amount recovered, in the cases including duty and its interest, increased from ₹504.20 crore to ₹668.66 crore – an increase of 32.62 %.
Six held for smuggling gold worth ₹2.3 crore from Dubai
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), on Friday, arrested six persons for smuggling gold worth ₹2.3 crore from Dubai. The gold was seized from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) and Kalbadevi jewellery market.
Acting on a tip-off, the DRI detained four carriers, one kingpin who sold gold in the local market and his accomplice.
The DRI stated that the carriers had reached Patna by bus and then arrived in Mumbai via train at LTT. The kingpin and his accomplice had come to the Kalbadevi market, to receive the gold from the carriers, but were held by the agency. “Sixty gold bars were concealed in their trousers, in specially-made cavities, within the belt area. The bars weigh 6.96kg and are valued at ₹2.3 crore,” said a high-ranking DRI officer.
Investigations revealed that the gold originated from Dubai and was smuggled into the country from the Indo-Nepal border. “The carriers had gone to Dubai in search of odd jobs and were recruited into this for monetary consideration. They were promised ₹20,000 each for smuggling gold to India,” said the officer.
The DRI stated that the carriers reached Patna by bus and then arrived in Mumbai by train. All six accused have been sent to judicial custody till June 2. As vigilance has been upped at the airport, smugglers are trying to bring in gold through the porous borders.