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CBI searches at many places in fraud case against Indo Rama
August, 09th 2011

The anti-corruption wing of Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) conducted searches at several places on Monday in a follow-up to the charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy against top officials of customs and central excise departments. The officials had alleged connived with textile major Indo Rama to fraudulently claim rebate in export duties worth over Rs 20 crore.

Meanwhile, Indo Rama issued a press communication, dismissing any misconduct or benefit from wrongful claims. It said it has already approached the concerned ministry and departments dealing with the case in New Delhi to clarify the issue. The authorities have said the issue is under examination and no show cause was issued, Indo Rama claimed.

CBI had registered an offence against six persons on June 30, 2011. Several top customs and central excise officials were named, including joint commissioner KH Sapkal, now posted in Pune, and deputy commissioner in Mumbai NP Meshram. Offences were also registered against superintendents of customs and central excise VG Giradkar and Hitesh Dasani. The offices of senior officials at Pune, Mumbai and Nagpur were searched by investigating officer inspector NS Patil. CBI said more people could be booked as investigation proceed.

These officials were posted in Nagpur when they apparently extended benefits to the textile company by allowing rebate when it was not eligible, between 2006 and 2009. Sapkal was serving as deputy commissioner while Meshram was working as assistant commissioner when the alleged scam took place.

CBI has also booked representatives of Indo Rama along with its clearing agent Rajesh Yadav. Searches were conducted at the office of the textile company at Butibori and the office of Yadav at the container yard.

CBI is probing how Indo Rama availed dual benefit by manipulating benefits provided by government of India under export promotion schemes. The companies importing raw material under Annual Advance Licenses are exempted from paying customs duty when finished products manufactured by such units are exported. Such companies also did not pay duties for export in such trades.

The companies were, however, not eligible to make claims for rebates. CBI found that the textile company had benefited from such claims, costing the exchequer several crores. Initial investigations said some customs and central excise officials turned a blind eye to such wrong claims, and helped the company reap the benefits.

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