Customs and Central Excise (Divisional Preventive Unit), Tuticorin, officials seized a consignment of Dore Anode (an alloy of precious metals), worth Rs.18 crore, carried in 36 sealed boxes, from a vehicle in the early morning of Saturday.

The goods-laden vehicle heading towards Chennai was intercepted on Tuticorin–Madurai Bypass Road on suspicion. The officials found that Sterlite Industries, Tuticorin, had despatched the goods to Chennai by false declaration.

Sources in Customs and Central Excise said that the transportation of goods came to light following a recent verification of the financial records maintained by Sterlite Industries. Only gold and silver contents of the Dore Anode were declared in the documents. But precious metals like platinum and palladium were found in the same alloy but not declared to the department.

The vehicle, along with the consignment, was seized under Customs Act, 1962.

Sterlite's denial

In a statement, Sterlite Industries described the charge as misinterpretation of facts. “We are following the existing norms in the copper industry in India and across the globe. We are working with the Department to clarify the issue and get the goods released,” the statement added.