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Ahmedabad gutkha firm found evading duty

Thursday, 20 October 2011 - 5:58pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) has unearthed a scam by a firm that allegedly undervalued betel-nut shipments by 50%.

The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) has cracked a scam involving import duty evasion by Vimal gutkha and paan masala three days after it raided the company's factory and owner's residence in Ahmedabad. The company is said to have paid Rs5 crore to DRI towards duty on Wednesday.

According to DRI officials, the company was undervaluing its betel-nut consignments imported from South-East Asia, mainly Malaysia. The officials had raided the company's factory in Chandkheda and owner Ankur Jain's residence in Satellite area in the city three days back.

"We found that the company was undervaluing customs duty on its import of betel-nuts. It paid Rs5 crore on Wednesday towards duty," said a top DRI official.

Sources said that the company was importing betel-nuts from South-East Asian countries where the product is available at very cheap rates. They said the company was declaring the value of its consignments at 50% less then the actual one.

On the quality of betel-nuts, the officials refused to divulge any information. Across the country, gutkha manufacturers have been found importing inferior quality of betel-nuts for making cheap gutkhas. Because of this, a huge amount of revenue is lost annually and citizens are also exposed to health hazards.
The sources said that investigation was going on and the quality of Vimal gutkha might be sent for testing.

Besides, the DRI officials have also seized over 20 consignments of betel-nuts in Mumbai belonging to Vimal gutkha. They are yet to be examined. Sources added that the total duty evasion by Vimal was likely to go up.

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