While the value of goods declared was ₹20 crore, agency says actual value could be ₹2,000 crore
The Income-Tax Department’s searches in and around Delhi, Haryana and West Bengal have revealed under-invoicing by an importer and trader of laptops, mobile phones and peripheral parts. The goods were being imported in the name of shell entities.
While the value of imports declared at the port of entry through shell companies in the past three years was at ₹20 crore, the agency has estimated that the actual value of the goods could be more than ₹2,000 crore.
The search operations were initiated on October 10 and gradually multiple locations were covered by the agency to gather evidence, which revealed that the group was involved in massive under-invoicing and wrongful declaration of goods imported by it. The agency found unrecorded transactions, unaccounted investment in properties, bogus loans taken by the entities concerned and other irregularities.
“The modus operandi involved import of goods in the name of shell entities at under-valued and/or wrongful declaration of description of goods imported, with an intent to evade customs duty. Upon clearance at the port(s), such goods have been found to be distributed throughout India by way of out-of-books cash transactions,” said the I-T Department.
The agency came across evidence in this regard while searching a container at the Kolkata port, where the bill of lading declared the goods as “HDMI cables” valued at ₹3.80 lakh. However, on de-sealing the consignments, it was found that the goods were laptops and mobile phones, with actual value of ₹64 crore.
As alleged, payments for such under-invoiced goods to the foreign consigners had been made through “hawala” channels. “Almost the entire business has been found to be run through such modus operandi,” the agency said.
The wealth so generated was used for acquisition of immovable properties, the cash was shown as rental income and unsecured loans and deposits were also made in foreign bank accounts. During the searches, the agency has so far seized ₹2.75 crore in unaccounted cash.