Smuggling case: Two accused ran firms on employees' name



New Delhi: Two accused in the Rs 10 crore smuggling case had front companies in the name of their employees to evade customs duty and income tax, DRI has said.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had last year unearthed an international syndicate involved in smuggling of restricted refrigeration gases, air conditioners and cigarettes from foreign countries worth about Rs 10 crore.

The case was later transferred to Delhi Police for further investigations which had arrested Ajit Singh Chadha from Delhi. Another accused Rohit Sakhuja had last month surrendered in a Delhi court.

The duo are at present lodged in Tihar jails. Chadha and Sakhuja have been booked under the COFEPOSA -- the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act.

During the course of investigation, it was found that the duo had created various firms in the name of their employees from time to time and have imported air conditioners, LCD televisions and other items through these companies.

The firms -- M/s MC Overseas, M/S Star Aircon and M/S Cool Waves -- were floated in the name of their employees to deceive the probe agencies and evade customs duty, income tax and sales tax, they said.

The DRI has also written to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade to look into the matter as licenses to import air conditioners were given to the firms by its officials.

Chadha and Sakhuja have been involved in forging the papers to get the clearance of eight containers filled with smuggled items from Inland Container Depot in Tughlakabad.

The containers had air conditioners of various brands and more than 6,000 units of R-22 gases, commonly used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems which were seized by the DRI officials, the sources said.

The import of R-22 gases is restricted as their usage results in depletion of ozone layer.

DRI officials had also seized at least 18,000 cigarette packets (one packet containing 20 packs of 10 cigarettes each) of 'Djarum Black' brand and over 11,000 packets (one packet containing 24 packs of 10 cigarettes each) of 'Gudang Garam'.

Both the brands were manufactured in Indonesia and used in clubs or in rave parties, they said.

PTI