The Gujarat arm of Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized a private jet owned by Pankaj Patel, the promoter of Zydus Cadila group. According to sources, DRI is looking into the evasion of customs duty by the importer.
The nine-seater aircraft, Bombardier Challenger-604, has been valued at Rs70 crore. It was allegedly imported from the US by Zest, which is part of the Zydus Cadila group.
The company had applied for Non Scheduled Operations Permit (NSOP) from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. While planes imported under the NSOP category are levied an import duty of around 5%, those that are used for private purposes attract a duty of 17%, said DRI sources.
As per rules, a non-scheduled operator gets customs duty exemption. However, the DRI believes that the aircraft that was imported six months ago was meant for the personal use of Patel, and hence does not qualify for exemption. If the exemption was removed, the importer would have to pay Rs10 crore as customs duty, the sources added.
According to the sources, Zest would have to pay Rs10 crore towards allied taxes and duties. Company officials admitted to the seizure of aircraft, but said that it was not imported by the listed firm, Cadila Healthcare Ltd. “We will not comment as aircraft is not imported by Cadila Healthcare. It is a private aircraft,” said an official.