Kolkata - The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a syndicate comprising a group of unscrupulous persons who had come together to form shell companies and seized various goods worth Rs 18 crore, it said.
Four consignments from China and Hong Kong, imported to Kolkata port by a city-based firm M/s A.S.S. Tradcom, were intercepted and examined.
Four persons were arrested in connection with the fraudulent imports.
"...entities in connivance with customs house agents were importing consignments from Hong Kong and China by hugely misdeclaring the description, quantity and value for evading customs duties," an official said.
According to him, the magnitude of misdeclaration is to such a large extent that the fraud amounts to outright smuggling of consumers goods in commercial quantities concealed in containers.
"The extent of undervaluation has been found to be between eighty to hundred times, comparing the value declared before customs and the market value of the goods," the official said.
"The actual importer used a Kolkata-based shell company with a valid Import Export Code (IEC) issued by the Director General Foreign Trade (DGFT). The shell company's directors in connivance with other persons forming a part of the syndicate would allow IEC to be misused for a hefty consideration without going into nitty-gritty of imports," the official said.
The IEC holder in such cases is proprietorship or partnership firms, who do not require any registration from Registrar of Companies. The actual importer also avoids the risk of getting himself caught and the risk of his own IEC cancelled.
Goods like hair clip, lightings, unbranded footwear and baby garments, a whole array of articles of ladies undergarments and branded shoes were found from containers.