Mumbai gang hacks customs system, siphons off Rs10 crore; 3 held
Mohammed Shaikh alias Arif, 42, a Mumbra resident, Saddrudin Lasanwala, 36, a Masjid resident and Ramesh Singh, 50, a Kandivli resident, were arrested; however, the syndicate kingpin Arjun Goregaonkar is still at large.mumbai Updated: Apr 23, 2018 10:16 IST
City unit of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested three members of a syndicate which fraudulently released drawback duties of nearly Rs10 crore of 20 companies which were frozen by customs pending investigations owing to various irregularities. The gang transferred the sums to desirable bank accounts.
Mohammed Shaikh alias Arif, 42, a Mumbra resident, Saddrudin Lasanwala, 36, a Masjid resident and Ramesh Singh, 50, a Kandivli resident, were arrested; however, the syndicate kingpin Arjun Goregaonkar is still at large. Duty drawback is the rebate of duty chargeable on any imported material used in the manufacture of goods exported from India.
Drawback duties are held if authorities find any irregularities with the export company and an alert is issued. A DRI source said Goregaonkar, being a drawback agent, was well-versed with the system. He would access the details of these dormant export companies and pass on the details, such as names, import export code (IEC), shipping bill numbers and amount of drawbacks kept on hold, to the other three.
Using these details, Arif would prepare forged documents in the company’s name which would be used to open bank accounts, DRI sources said. Goregaonkar would then have the bank details amended in the customs’ electronic data interchange (EDI) system and remove the alert invoked against the company. The drawback duties kept on hold would get credited to the fake bank account and the accused would withdraw the funds. Goregaonkar reportedly took 35% of the money while the rest was divided equally by the other three accused.
Arif, Singh and Lasanwala reportedly admitted to DRI officials that they earned Rs 25-30 lakh each from this scam. A DRI source said Goregaonkar may have made crores. Authorities are probing how Goregaonkar got access to EDI and are investigating if he was working hand-in-glove with some internal government personnel.