11 Customs Officers transferred after a Surprise Inspection

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Mumbai : Eleven Customs officers have been transferred after a surprise inspection at the Sahar air cargo complex found that a group of importers has been smuggling mobile phones and accessories.

During a surprise check in April-end, officials of the Central Intelligence Unit of the Customs found the consignments were cleared without examination. The consignments were ready to leave the import shed when the officials intervened, a source said.

In the past few months, 600 consignments were imported from Hong Kong and cleared through air cargo complex by importers, sources said. The imports were handled by two customs house agents. Around Rs 4 crore duty was evaded.

Customs investigation found that the addresses of the importers in the records were fake. ” All the importers were first timers and such huge imports in a short span should ha ve caught the attention of the officials. Moreover, the Hong Kong based traders have not supplied to anyone except these importers,” a source said.These traders could be shell companies and not the real masterminds, the source added. Chief Commissioner of Customs Mr. Devender Singh IRS, did not respond to a text message.

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The importers mis-declared the product and value thus evading duty , an official said.Imports of mobile phones attract a duty of around 28%. In some instances, branded pho nes were declared as cheap ones as it involves violation of intellectual property rights.Some of the accessories such as chargers did not meet the Indian certifying standards, the official added.

A 100% examination of consignment is carried out if traders, instead of manufacturers, supply goods. In the present case, most of the the suppliers were traders, not manufacturers. ” All imports were physically assessed and examined and not cleared automatically through the electronic facilitation mode. This shows that officers were aware of the imports,” an official said.

Meanwhile, officials from the directorate of Vigilance inspected the air cargo complex and sought a detailed report from the commissioner. “The vigilance department had suggested transfer of all officials who were part of clearing goods. Everyone except two officers who were assigned a supervisory role were transferred,” a source said.

Source : TOI


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