Adamant: Hardest metal
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Export fraudster nabbed
Pranati Mehra
Mumbai, June 5: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) last week arrested Subhash Dube, a mastermind behind several export frauds also sought by customs agents.

Though Dube owns neither a company nor a customs house agency, he is the suspected ‘organiser’ of exports that were grossly overvalued in order to skim off duty drawback and Duty Entitlement Pass Book schemes for duty-free imports.

Sources say that the customs department’s Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) has also been investigating Dube’s role in a fraud identified last year. The duty involved in the cases detected so far totals over Rs 1 crore.

Dube had been evading a CIU summons since February and could not be found at his known address. He was finally cornered by the DRI last Thursday at the domestic airport before he could board a flight out of the city. He is now in judicial custody.

The DRI is trying to untangle the maze of firms that exported the goods, mostly garments and carpets, which were highly overvalued and sometimes useless rags.

The firms either have fictitious addresses or disappear before the investigators reach them. Custom house agents may also have had a role in the fraud, either as unknowing dupes or by conniving with Dube.

The DRI began hunting Dube after seizing a series of consignments in Nhava Sheva in April. Exports of readymade garments to Dubai, declared to be worth Rs 83 lakh, were found to contain used material and rags. The total duty drawback sought from the consignments was Rs 60 lakh.

The CIU identified several similar exports to Venezuela and Singapore in August and November 2002. The total drawback claimed in these cases was Rs 22 lakh.

Three people were arrested in the case, including a customs house agent, P D Manjrekar. Dube had been operating behind the scenes and the details of his role are yet to emerge.

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