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Millennium Post

Rs 459-cr export racket unearthed by revenue sleuths

The DRI officials are busy in finding how traders in the name of exporting ‘floor covering’ (braided) misused the incentive scheme of the government to make moolah to the tune of about Rs 459 crore. The matter relates to the siphoning crores of rupees of public money by fraudulent export of quilt covers under the guise of hand crafted carpets which has come to light after custom officials impounded 50 plus container loads of ‘floor covering’ at Inland Container Depot (ICD), Loni in October last year. The scam, which is being probed by DRI, relates with misusing of 17 per cent incentive provided by Ministry of Commerce to promote hand crafted goods.

According to documents available with Millennium Post most of  the quilt covers were exported from ICD Patparganj, a dry port in the national capital. Sources informed that suppliers had exported about 500 container loads of ‘floor covering’  to Dubai in a span of ten months. Given the fact that a container holds about 7,200 pieces of ‘floor covering’ and the declared price of this item in the hand crafted category is Rs 7,500 in the international market, the total value of the supplied items is pegged at Rs 2,700 crore. Surprisingly, the floor covering  costs just about Rs 200, so the total loss to the exchequer is to the tune of Rs 446 crore. The actual cost of the exported item would be just Rs 72 crore and incentive on it would be Rs 12.25 crore only.

The documents further reveal that the entire consignment of so- called floor-covering were exported to United Arab of Emirates (UAE). It is learnt that bogus exporters are running the racket from colonies of east Delhi, west Delhi and Ghaziabad. Highly placed sources in the DRI said, “Involvement of customs officials can’t be ruled out. There are some big customs house agents (CHAs) who are involved in this case. CHAs work as conduits between exporters and custom officials.” The sources further said that the name of Him Logistics Pvt Ltd (HLPL) has figured during  investigations. 

Reportedly, HLPL played a key role in securing clearances from customs officials, the source said, adding that this is just the tip of the iceberg as a similar modus operandi has also been used for export of items such as cricket bats, footballs, and ear caps, etc.

While talking to Millennium Post, John Joseph, the additional director general, Delhi unit said: “Right now we are not in a position to reveal any names, as the probe is still on. It will take 4-5 months to get all the answers.” “We have quizzed the owners of these firms, of which some came forward on their own,” he said.
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