Kolkata : The anti-corruption branch of the CBI on Tuesday conducted raids on 10 locations in Kolkata, in connection with a case where a Deputy Commissioner of Customs (airport) and two other officials had allegedly helped companies evade duty and import goods illegally into the country . The scam, according to sources in the CBI, is pegged at Rs 188 crore.
The case, in which officers responsible for looking after the import cargo through air route at the Kolkata airport were fo airport were found conniving with private companies to import illegally, had come under the radar after the Department of Revenue Intelli gence (DRI) had started a probe in June this year. It came under the DRI’s notice that items such as branded and high-end watches, shoes, ca meras, mobile phones, cigarettes and food supple ment were being imported into the country illegally. What was first discovered as one or two sets of consignments with major duty evasion, soon turned into a pattern for the investigators as consignments started coming in one after another. The raids at the airport continued for more than a month. What was more surprising for the investigators was the fact that two more officers along with the Deputy Commissioner, Navneet Kumar IRS, were allegedly involved in the case.
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While no customs official was available for comment, sources in the customs department said that the department has already been looking into the case after complaints came in. “The case was registered based on a complaint from the customs department alleging that the deputy commissioner entered into a criminal conspiracy with an appraiser and an examining officer of the department,” a CBI spokesperson said. Kumar could not be reached for comment.
According to the CBI, Kumar, who served as the deputy commissioner of customs, ACC (import) and CPIO, had allegedly helped several companies bring in commercial cargo in the disguise of courier. Several fake import companies were floated and they continued to bring branded goods evading duty . During investigation, the CBI had come across the role of an appraiser and an examining officer who had also allegedly helped the companies. “In the said manipulations, the customs officials allegedly facilitated the importers in paying minimal customs duty , thereby causing huge loss to the government exchequer,” said a CBI spokesperson.
“We have raided 10 premises in Kolkata and North 24 Parganas. Kumar was interrogated and we have seized some documents during the searches,” said a CBI official.
Source : TOI