In a major catch, the Delhi Customs officials have seized Pakistan-origin dry dates worth over Rs 1.2 crore at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in South Delhi's Tughlakabad area.
According to a senior Customs official, the dry dates were being illegally imported after wrongly declaring the country of origin of goods as Oman, Dubai and Iran instead of Pakistan
"The Customs officials have seized eight such containers which were loaded on a vessel at Karachi port. The proprietor of an import firm has been arrested," said the senior Customs official.
"Importers involved in the case were declaring Country of origin of goods fake and they 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," said the senior Customs official.
"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," said the official.
"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 has been initiated by the ICD Tughlakabad," said the official.
"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. Intelligence was gathered that all these eight containers were loaded on a vessel at Karachi port," said the official.
"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," said the official adding that accordingly, the goods valued at Rs 1.26 crore were seized and the proprietor of the importing firm was arrested.