Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating a cartel of Customs officials and clearing agents involved in clearing of goods without payment of proper duty by resorting to the unfair practice of using passports of people who lived abroad for more than two years, is now probing the number of consignments cleared by the syndicate, the end use of diverted funds and hawala operators in diversion of obtained funds.
The total amount of kickbacks received by officials amounts to ₹2.38 crore.
As reported on Friday, the CBI arrested Customs Superintendents Brijesh Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Hemant Gethe, Keshav Pandhi and Alok Kumar, clearing agent Deepak Parekh and his relative Ashish Kamdar.
CBI finds passports used for clearance of consignments
While searching Kamdar’s residence, the CBI said it found passports used for clearance of consignments. The role of passport holders is also being probed. A CBI source said, “Details of investments and movable/ immovable properties of the arrested officials have to be obtained by subjecting them to custodial interrogation… to ascertain if purchases were made using income from known sources or from illegal and dubious sources. Accused persons also need to be brought face to face to ascertain their further role.”
Many more influential persons likely to be involved
The official said that the chain of events clearly indicates that many more influential persons, including colleagues and seniors of the arrested accused, are likely to be involved. “We will investigate as to what all goods were actually imported by the said syndicate as the bribe amount is huge... The agency also suspects that the syndicate might be extended to other countries,” the official said.
From 2020 to 2022, the accused officials and clearing agent were posted at the Unaccompanied Baggage Centre (UB Centre), JNCH, Nhava Sheva. They allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with Dahisar residents Ashish Kamdar and Deepak Parekh and others to import dutiable goods under the ‘Transfer of Residence’ provision, meant for private persons staying abroad for over two years, to cause wrongful loss to the exchequer.
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