New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) The CBI has arrested five superintendents of Customs for allegedly receiving around Rs 2.38 crore bribe over many years by allowing illegal import of goods on passports of people who were staying abroad by the provision of "transfer of residence" under the Customs Act. Those arrested include superintendents Kumar Alok, Keshav Pandhi, Hemant Gethe, Brijesh Kumar and Dinesh Kumar and two Customs house agents Deepak Parekh and Ashish Kamdar.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered six separate cases against six superintendents of Customs and the two Customs house agents for allegedly entering into conspiracy to import goods by misusing the provision of "transfer of residence" under the Customs Act. The case pertains to their time of posting in Mumbai. According to the provision of "transfer of residence" under the act a person who has lived abroad for more than two years can import used household goods from abroad by claiming an exemption up to Rs 5 lakh.
The Customs house agents at Nhava Sheva procured passports from various persons who have lived abroad for more than two years and use the passports for clearing consignments of household items of other ineligible persons in conspiracy with the accused Customs officials.
"It was alleged that the said syndicate used passports of various persons, who had stayed abroad for more than two years especially in Gulf countries to import various items including household items, electronic items and other unknown items by firstly undervaluing the goods and further concealing some other undeclared items along with the other declared items," a CBI spokesperson said.
He said the goods imported should have been ideally imported for the person whose passport was declared before the Customs but the goods were actually imported for many other persons settled abroad and still living abroad. "The passport holder was allegedly given Rs 15,000 for allowing his passport to be used. It was also alleged that the said modus-operandi was adopted by the syndicate in connivance with the Customs officers, who were involved in examining and clearing and giving 'out of charge' of the related consignments," a CBI statement said. The agency has alleged that the kickbacks allegedly paid to these Customs officers was around Rs 2.38 crore in lieu of clearing of such illegal consignments.
"Searches were conducted at 19 places on the premises of the accused and their accomplices situated at Mumbai, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Jaipur, Motihari (Bihar), Kurukshetra and Rohtak which led to recovery of various incriminating documents/articles," the statement said. PTI ABS ANB ANB