Thursday, June 4, 2015

Customs officers scared of pursuing enquiries against Adani Group

Customs officers scared of pursuing enquiries against Adani Group

Customs officers scared of pursuing enquiries against Adani Group
June 02

India Samvad Bureau

New Delhi : Has the Directorate of Revenue Intellligence (DRI) ceased all enquiries into Adani global, the overseas company owned by corporate giant Gautam Bhai Adani ?  Or the Customs and Revenue Intelligence officials are scared of Adani-Modi closeness and therefore have developed cold feet in pursuing such enquiries and intelligence gathering.

Sources said that DRI's overseas intelligent unit COIN (Custom Overseas Intelligence Network) has been gathering information on dealings of Adani Global FZE located at Jabel Ali, Dubai. The COIN had passed several crucial inputs relating to evasion of Customs duty to DRI by overseas companies of Adani,  but of late such enquiries has been ceased.

The ADG of  DRI in Mumbai,  PK Dass  has also been silenced by the Customs top authorities on the matter. ADG had unearthed a huge racket of over and under invoicing relating to import of machines by Adani group. On the basis of ADG DRI's report the CBI also registered an enquiry into Adani Group. However when Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister of India, the customs were asked to go slow on probe against matters related to Adani, sources said.

Sources said on the tip off from COIN UAE, the agency was investigating gross overvaluation of import of equipment and machinery by various entities of Adani Group from a UAE-based intermediary. Sources within the agencies revealed that more than Rs 2,000 crore had been "siphoned off ". "An amount of Rs 2,322.75 crore has been siphoned off abroad by Adani Group by resorting to over-valuation of imports in the name of various group firms," a report of the DRI says.

The companies being investigated for over-valuation of imports are PMC Projects (India), Adani Enterprises Limited, Adani Renewable Energy, Adani Hazira Port Pvt Ltd, Adani International Container Terminal Pvt Ltd and Adani Vizag Coal Terminal Pvt ltd,"says the report.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence  summoned Vinod Shantilal Adani as well two Dubai-based individuals, Mitesh Dani and Jatin Shah.

The Adani Group and its firms have not declared the correct value of imports and a show-cause notice is being issued under Sections 111 and 113 of the Customs Act, 1962. All top officials, including the Adanis themselves, were to be questioned by the DRI.

On the other hand a report earlier published in business newspaper says that on this matterr  Adani Group had declined to respond. However a person close to the business house claimed it was the victim of a "witch-hunt" being conducted by the Congress during UPA rule against Adani who was perceived close to Modi. "We are facing extraordinary harassment. Old cases are being opened up and notices are being sent on a daily basis. In the DRI matter, no formal notice has come so far," said the person close to the group. In November 2013, the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) had reminded the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, part of the commerce ministry, to cancel import duty benefits issued to the Adani Group in 2004.

These benefits — essentially the right to import at concessional rates — were issued under the Target Plus Scheme, an export incentive which has since been discontinued. The person close to the Adani Group referred to CBEC's reminder as an example of old cases being revived.A number of DRI officials strongly defended their investigation, claiming to have unearthed substantial evidence of what they referred to as "money-laundering" by way of over-valuation of imports.

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