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Rs 2cr evasion in betel nut imports detected.

Date: 29-03-2016
Subject: Rs 2cr evasion in betel nut imports detected
Ahmedabad: The Surat unit of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) along with Ahmedabad zonal unit has detected Rs 2 crore of duty evasion by a firm based in Surat SEZ on imports of betel nuts.

The teams of DRI Surat and Ahmedabad had detained two trucks carrying 36 metric tonnes (MT) of betel nuts worth Rs 70 lakh illegally near Ahmedabad on Friday. Upon investigation it was found that the betel nuts were meant for manufacturing of mouth freshener in Surat SEZ but was diverted to local market illegally.

According to sources, the betel nuts imported from countries like Indonesia to the SEZ were to be used as raw material for making mouth freshener. "The betel nut attracts 111% import duty if imported from certain countries. This firm would import the betel nuts duty free on the pretext of using it as raw material. Then this betel nuts would be sent outside SEZ saying that it was being sent for processing. However, it was diverted to the local market," said a source. The firm used to forge bills of entries and was carrying this illegal activity for quite some time. "The firm has confessed that using the same modus operandi it has diverted 100 MT of betel nuts in the last few months," added the source.

Interestingly, Surat SEZ houses several gems and jewellery units, but in the last few months around four to five units of mouth freshener have come up which use betel nuts in large quantity. The duty drawback on betel nuts varies in accordance with its use in a product's manufacturing.

Further investigation is being carried out in the case.

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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