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Man poses as PM's advisor to clear export of masks to Saudi Arabia

Man poses as PMs advisor to clear export of masks to Saudi Arabia
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new delhi: The Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (SIIB) of Customs has filed a complaint of fraud where a person posed himself as an advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and tried to clear a consignment carrying masks for export to Saudi Arabia.

Police have registered a case in this regard and the investigation has been started. As per complainant Pankaj Kumar, who is Superintendent Customs, told police that a Noida-based company (exporter) filed a shipping bill number with the date July 1 through the Customs house agent for the export of 3-ply face masks to Faisal Shaikh Group in Saudi Arabia.

"In order to facilitate speedy clearance, a phone call was received by the Commissioner of Customs from a non-caller id number, informing that she was talking from PMO and advisor to PM would like to talk to him," the official said. As per the official, one Aniket Dey identified himself as an advisor to the PM and claimed that the DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) had issued permission for the export after due permission of the PMO and said the consignment had to be cleared for export to Saudi Arabia, urgently but Customs was not allowing the same.

The official added that a further call was also received from a mobile number by Aniket Dey. The notification so submitted was sent for verification to DGFT through the mail. DGFT, in turn, has replied that DGFT has not issued any such notification for the exemption to export 3-ply surgical masks to the Noida-based company. As per the official, DGFT through their notification had prohibited the export of surgical and disposable masks (2/3 ply masks). The prohibition is still in force as is evident from a notification dated June 29, 2020, issued by DGFT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

According to the official, a private company, one private entity and Aniket Dey have allegedly attempted to defraud the government on the strength of a purported fake notification. Earlier, Customs officials have informed police that in some cases, fraudsters are found misusing names of officials as senior as the Finance Minister and the Chief Commissioner of Customs (Delhi Zone) by issuing letters in their names.

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