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Customs seizes Pakistan-origin dry dates worth over Rs 1.2 crore; importer arrested

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

In a major catch, customs officials on Wednesday seized Pakistan-origin dry dates worth over Rs 1.2 crore here.

These dry dates were being illegally imported after wrongly declaring the country of origin of goods as Oman, Dubai and Iran instead of Pakistan, according to an official statement on Wednesday.

Customs officials at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Tughlakabad have seized eight such containers which were loaded on a vessel at Karachi port, it said.

The authorities also arrested the proprietor of an import firm.

Importers involved in the case were following this modus operandi to evade basic customs duty of 200 per cent which was imposed by the government in February this year on goods exported or originated from Pakistan.

Importers in connivance with some persons of Pakistan and Dubai and with the help of some shipping lines devised this way of illegally importing the goods.

Under this, they brought the goods first from Pakistan to Dubai and then on a fresh "bill of lading", the same cargo is transported from Dubai to India in the same container or in a different container, the statement said.

In trade parlance such fresh bill of lading are known as switch bill of lading which are basically used to hide the origin port.

With the help of these switch bill of lading and cross stuffing of containers these importers have tried to evade the appropriate duty.

Investigation against these importers have been initiated by the ICD Tughlakabad.

One such importer has filed six bills of entry for import of eight containers of dry dates mentioning the country of origin of goods as Iran, the statement said.

"Intelligence was gathered that all these eight containers were loaded on a vessel at Karachi port," it said.

This was further confirmed from the shipping line concerned and it appeared that the importer has deliberately adopted the modus operandi and wrongly declared the country of origin in violation of the provisions of the Customs Act and attempted to evade the customs duty of approximately Rs 3 crore, the statement said.

Accordingly, the goods valued at Rs 1.26 crore were seized and the proprietor of the importing firm was arrested, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 21:10 IST