The Enforcement Directorate is keen on pursuing the case against gold and jewellery giant Rajesh Exports whose managing director Prashant J. Mehta is in the dock after being accused of orchestrating smuggling of imported gold ingots from the firm’s facility at the Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ).
The gold thus shipped out on the sly, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) contended in a court here, had made its way to the retail gold market in the country.
Enforcement Directorate sources told The Hindu that the agency has already written to DRI seeking details of the case. “We are keen on finding out if the company was involved in money laundering. We will closely follow the case and launch our own investigation in the event of a complaint against the company under section 135 of the Customs Act [evasion of duty or prohibitions]. Our role comes if there was a Scheduled Offence committed,” said an Enforcement Directorate officer.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also closely tracking the developments to rule out involvement of government officials in the company’s questionable operations.
A decision on the anticipatory bail application of Mr. Mehta will be pronounced by the District Sessions Court here on Thursday. DRI, which had arrested two employees of the company after it seized a 900-gm gold bar from one of them, opposed the plea when it came up for hearing on Tuesday.
As earlier reported by The Hindu, DRI claims to have stumbled upon scanty facilities at the company’s premises at the CSEZ for any value addition to the gold it imported, purportedly for export in the form of gold coins.
Meanwhile, SEZ authorities who had earlier slapped a show-cause notice on the firm following a directive from the Ministry of Commerce asking closure of SEZ companies trading in gold without any value addition, put off the May 20 meeting of the Board of Approval to consider a proposal to cancel firm’s CSEZ license.
The Ministry sought legal opinion on the issue before cracking the whip on the company as the matter was sub judice, said CSEZ sources.