DRI unearths Rs 150 cr fraud by jewellery unit owner

New Delhi: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has claimed to have unearthed an alleged fraud worth Rs 150 crore with the arrest of a Noida-based jewellery manufacturing unit owner, who reportedly diverted imported gold from Dubai to Indian market post demonetisation.

“It is estimated that Rs 150 crore worth of duty free bullion was diverted into the domestic market. The mastermind is also believed to have diverted imported gold bars procured under bond from banks or nominated agencies for manufacturing jewellery,” the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) said in a statement.

The owner of the unit was arrested and during searches at his business and residential premises, 40 kg of gold worth around Rs 12 crore has been seized, it said.

The main purpose of the alleged fraud by the unit, registered with Noida Special Economic Zone (NSEZ), was to smuggle or divert high-purity gold imported from Dubai into the Indian market by evading 10 per cent basic customs duty, it said.

The agency intercepted the company’s consignment, which was declared as gold jewellery (22-carat) and to be exported from NSEZ, at Delhi cargo terminal.

On examination, the consignment was found to contain mostly “copper chains” with “zero” gold content. Another consignment, ready to be exported to Dubai, was intercepted at NSEZ factory, the statement said.

“In all, out of 35 kg declared gold jewellery, about 85-90 per cent was found to be copper alloy and other low value metal alloys. The actual imported high-purity gold was diverted to the local market,” it said.

The DRI officials are conducting searches at multiple locations to probe the diversion of imported gold to various gold dealers and recipients.