The CBI has filed cases pertaining to a duty drawback scam of Rs 12 crore at the Tuticorin Port, where textile manufacturers based in Hosur and Tirupur and several other facilitating companies, have been accused of cheating and fraud.
Duty drawback is a government incentive given to exporters who get a rebate of 8%-10% on the duty they have paid from the stage of manufacturing the goods till its export. This is deposited into their accounts based on their Import Export Code (IEC) as soon as their container is cleared for export by a Container Freight Station (CFS) or Inland Container Depot (ICD).
In the cases registered by the CBI Madurai on Tuesday, eight manufacturers and four entities related to cargo management and freight operators have been accused of submitting around 260 false and fabricated shipping bills, to claim duty drawback without making any actual exports. Around Rs 12.45 crore in total was claimed in this manner in collusion with the Customs officials at Tuticorin Port, CBI said.
The companies named as accused are Vaishnavi Knit Garments, AV Tex, RP Enterprises, MM Enterprises, TM Impex in Tirupur, Interlook Cargo Clearing and Forwarding, Chennai, PP Textiles, SV Garments in Hosur and US Group and Enterprises in Mettur.
Babu of Passage Cargo Pvt Ltd, Simon Selvakumar of SKR Supply chain management, Senthil Prabhu and Selvam of St John Freight systems, all based in Tuticorin, had submitted the fake bills in the name of the companies, CBI said.
Customs officials, who are yet to be identified, processed these bills at various stages like registration, examination, export order, stuffing without any actual receipt of cargo and closed the Export General Manifest (EGM) releasing duty drawback to the companies, causing a loss to the government of India. TOI had reported this when the Customs department had busted the scam two years ago.
Customs sources had told TOI then that this was the first such operation where drawback is being claimed without exporting a single piece of cloth. “In earlier recorded cases, exporters would be sending garbage, but declare it as valuable goods and get the drawback,” an official had then said.
Sources had said that in these cases, the gang had managed to get the system ID and password at the St Johns Inland Container Depot (ICD) near Tuticorin port and enter details of non-existent export goods based on which the drawback duty was received. CBI has booked cases under sections for cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption.