New Delhi: Over 1,100 cylinders
containing 15,500 kg of a very strong ozone depleting gas
which were brought into the country on the sly have been
seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
Official sources said that based on specific inputs,
the DRI recently seized 1,139 cylinders, weighing 13.6 kg
each, of illegally imported R-22, a Ozone Depleting Substance
The consignment, intercepted in the national capital,
was falsely declared to contain R-134a, which is a non-ODS
R-22, which is used as a cheaper substitute for the
more expensive but cleaner gases in appliances like AC and
refrigerators, is a restricted item and can only be imported
with a license from the Director General of Foreign Trade.
Sources said that though no arrests have been made yet
in this connection, the Directorate has tracked down the
original importer of the consignment and investigations are
The cylinders, imported from a middle-east country,
were seized for contravention of the Foreign Trade Policy and
the Customs Act.
As per the Montreal Protocol, R-22 gas is a restricted
item and can only be imported from a country which is a
signatory to it.
The R-22 is a restricted item as it affects the ozone
layer resulting in more direct and harmful sunlight.
Meanwhile, the DRI which today released its six-month
report said it has issued 255 show cause notices in cases
involving customs duty amounting to Rs 2,637 crore between
April-September this year.
In the same period, DRI has also detected 193 cases of
"outright" smuggling and seized narcotics and other contraband
like ketamine and ephedrine, besides environmentally sensitive
commodities worth Rs 243 crore.
Since April this year, DRI has also seized fake Indian
currency notes having face value of Rs 1.42 crore.
The report said 200 cases of commercial fraud
involving customs duty estimated at Rs 489 crore have also