DRI probes aircraft import duty violation by training schools

New Delhi: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has launched a nation-wide probe into the alleged violation of aircraft import duty, to the tune of crores of rupees, by aviation training institutes.

According to DRI sources, institutes -- primarily located in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore -- have been found to have contravened the customs laws that allowed them tax exemption to import aircraft for a specific purpose to train pilots.

According to an official data, there are about 40 such institutes in the country which train pilots and have applied for tax exemption citing this reason.

However, some of these institutes were found to be flying tourist and other non-schedule sorties, thereby violating the provisions of the Customs Act, the sources said.

"The probe is in initial stages and all the institutes will be verified. But it is expected that the violation of the Customs laws could have been done by about 50 per cent of the institutes. The contraventions are many and they are under probe," a senior Revenue department officer said.

Some of the institutes under scanner are also located in cities like Lucknow and Patna among others and the DRI is also looking at the ownership and business associates of these training centres.

The DRI will also write to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ascertain the authorisation of these institutes, sources said.

The DRI is an intelligence gathering and enforcement wing under the Finance Ministry.