Millennium Post

CBI books 3 Mumbai Customs officials & diamond merchant in trade-based money laundering case

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked three officials of Mumbai Customs along with an international diamond merchant for allegedly conspiring to facilitate trade-based money laundering by purportedly allowing for overvalued rough diamonds to be imported into India from Hong Kong and sending out foreign currency illegally.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Hong Kong-based diamond merchant Girish Kadel had business interests in India as well and had imported around 5,599.52 carats of rough diamonds from Switzerland in the name of four of his companies in Hong Kong.

The Central Bureau of Investigation further alleged that the diamonds were then exported to India to two companies Antique Exim Pvt Ltd and Tanman Jewels Pvt Ltd - both beneficially owned by Kadel at a price of around Rs 156.28 crore.

However, according to a revaluation of the diamonds by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the total cost of the diamonds was close to Rs 1 crore.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had, in fact, registered a case in the matter earlier and even issued show-cause notices to Kadel with respect to the import and export of the rough diamonds.

The agency has named then Commissioner of the Airport Special Cargo Commissionerate, Vinay Brij Singh; Chandravanshi Y Manikanhaiya, then Deputy Commissioner (Imports), PCCCC and then Deputy Commissioner (SIIB), APSC, Ashiquzzaman as accused in the case for allegedly facilitating the operation by purportedly using their position to pass fabricated valuation of the diamonds concerned.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Singh had selectively chosen panel members to revalue the diamonds and then used his position to direct his subordinates to approve the incorrect valuation once again.

The then Commissioner had also directed further investigation in the case, but then asked Ashiquzzaman to write new notings in the case and destroy the old notesheet.

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