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Nashik onion traders submit fake export bills.

Date: 12-10-2017
Subject: Nashik onion traders submit fake export bills
Seven major onion traders in Nashik have been misusing the central government's 5% subsidy scheme on export of onions by submitting fake and inflated bills, an investigation has revealed.

The DNA had reported on Income Tax (I-T) raids on these seven traders.

According to a source at the I-T department in Nashik, these major traders, including Omprakash Ranka, Kantilal Surana, Sohan Seth Bandh, were kept under close watch for the last six months.

"Billing patterns and accounts of these traders revealed that they were fraudulently submitting fake and inflated onion export bills to embezzle more subsidy."

To promote export, the Centre had offered 5% subsidy on exporting onion so that the excess produce can be sold out of India and stability of rates can be maintained within the country as well.

"We have been watching these traders' activities and transactions over the last six months. On the bills, they had shown export to various places, mostly Gulf countries and Malaysia. However, in reality, no such export took place.

Most transactions took place only on paper. Besides, they had also submitted inflated bills. For instance, if a container capacity was 22 tonnes, they had shown bills of each container carrying 27 tonnes of onion. They not only pocketed the additional subsidy for the extra 5 tonnes, but also used it to route the money in India. It has worked vice versa too," an official said, requesting anonymity.

India had imported 35 lakh metric tonnes of onion in 2016-17, the highest ever. "To maintain stability in prices of onion, the central government had imposed minimum export prices (MEP). The charges of MEP vary depending on the situation, demand and supply of the market. MEP has been leveled from zero to maximum $1250 per tonne of onion export," said a person who closely tracks the international onion market from Nashik.

The I-T official further said these traders often work as a cartel. They were dominant players in the onion market and played a major role in fixing prices. The Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) is the largest APMC for onion produce/sale in Asia, supplying almost 35% of the total demand in India.

"When we tracked these traders, it was found that their business deals were quite complex and suspicious. Therefore, we decided to hand over the case to the Enforcement Directorates (ED) for further investigation. Once the ED probe is complete, it will throw more light on details of the onion export business," the official added.

Source: dnaindia.com

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