Millennium Post

Why is Rashmi Group getting away with freight evasion?

Eyebrows are being raised over the freight evasion scam involving the railway ministry and excise officials who have allegedly colluded with a private company, Rashmi group, causing the government a loss of over Rs 1500 crores.

The company which has been highlighted in this entire controversy - Rashmi group – is infamous for masterminding the rail freight scam. The modus operandi is to use railways for transporting material for domestic consumption but actually exporting the same by forging excise documents. This has helped them evade excise duty.

‘Despite the fact that Indian railways has so far issued four show cause notices to this group claiming the fare differential, the recovery has not happened. The reason is that railways have not followed the matter in courts and have not even appealed against the order obtained by the Rashmi group,’ said a source. The CBI has also registered two cases against this group and other railway and excise officials for being in connivance with this group.

Sajjan Kumar Patwari, director of Rashmi Cement and Rashmi Metallic, and several other officials of the two firms, besides several excise officials of Haldia, have been booked by the CBI.

The source added, ‘A fact which is not known to the public is that the ore mined in the state of Odisha has specific licenses for domestic consumption and for export. The license provided for domestic consumption cannot be used for exports. That is a criminal offense. Moreover, sized ore is a restricted commodity and exports of the same are generally not allowed. The statutory fees for the license for exports is way higher than its domestic counterpart.’

According to the source, ‘The Rashmi group has not only duped the Indian railways but also duped the government of Odisha and customs department by exporting the ore which was issued under the license of domestic consumption.

The Odisha government had previously cancelled the licenses of Rashmi group, but the group had gotten away with the help of mining officials in Odisha. But now the state enforcement squad has also registered a case of criminal conspiracy against the group and suspended its licenses.’

A railway official said that this case is an ongoing on. ‘The matter is in the court and sub-judice. Also, a CBI enquiry is being conducted into this issue, so we would not want to make any comment now.’
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