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3 Customs officials, 14 others booked for fraud

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They were booked for alleged money laundering through over-invoicing of imported rough diamonds.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked three Mumbai-based Customs officials and 14 others for alleged money laundering through over-invoicing of imported rough diamonds. The gems weighing 5,599.52 carats, with the actual value of just ₹1.03 crore, were declared as worth over ₹156 crore. Among the accused are the then Commissioner (Airport Special Cargo Commissionerate) Vinay Brij Singh and Deputy Commissioners Chandravanshi Y. Manikanhaiya and Ashiquzzaman. The case is based on a probe by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.

It is alleged that businessman Girish Kadel, who also has business interests in India, had imported diamonds from Switzerland to Hong Kong through his four companies. In mid-2018, he exported some diamonds to India under 14 bills of entry by Antique Exim Private Limited and Tanman Jewels, showing their value as ₹156.28 crore.

In the FIR, the CBI alleges that Mr. Kadel used the import-export codes of the two companies with the help of Atul Paldecha to siphon off the excess foreign exchange overseas on the pretext of diamond imports. This was done allegedly to cover the differential cost of other imports and park the rest of the money abroad.

The over-valuation was done allegedly in connivance with the officials and government-appointed valuers, who have been named in the FIR.

According to the DRI, the then Commissioner had ordered an inquiry into the issue. However, a few days later he instructed Mr. Ashiquzzaman to write new notings, destroyed the notesheet, and changed his earlier directions of further investigation, with a direction that assessment should be done as per the valuation report.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:58:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/3-customs-officials-14-others-booked-for-fraud/article30569644.ece

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