New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked 17 individuals and companies, including three Mumbai-based senior Customs officials, for allegedly being part of a money laundering racket using over-invoiced import of diamonds worth more than Rs 156 crore, official said on Tuesday.
The case was referred to the CBI after a Directorate of Revenue Intelligence probe found alleged involvement of Customs officials in the conspiracy, they said.
The DRI probe had alleged that Hong Kong-based businessman Girish Kadel had imported rough diamonds from Switzerland to Hong Kong in the name of his four companies.
Kadel, who had business interests in India, had exported some of these diamonds to India through 14 consignments in the name of two companies Antique Exim Pvt Ltd and Tanman Jewels showing over-invoiced value of Rs 156.28 crore.
The DRI had found during revaluation that actual value of the consignment was Rs 1.03 crore instead of falsely declared value of Rs 156.28 crore, they said.
The CBI has alleged that Kadel used Import Export Codes (IECs) of Antique Exim Private Ltd and Tanman Jewels through his aide Atul Paldecha for siphoning off the money outside India through import of over-valued diamonds, the officials said.
Rough diamonds were imported at “highly exaggerated value” to siphon off excess foreign exchange overseas to cover the differential cost of other imports and park money abroad for unlawful activities. It is alleged that the then Commissioner APSC Mumbai, Vinay Brij Singh, influenced subordinate officers to give favourable report, they said.
The agency has alleged that Singh ordered investigation into the matter and after a few days called a subordinated deputy commissioner to write new noting and destroyed the note sheet and changed his earlier directions of further investigation, the officials said.
The agency has booked Singh, Deputy Commissioners Chandravanshi Y Manikanhaiya and Ashiquzzaman along with Kadel, Paldecha, Antique Exim, Tanman Jewels, Impress Clearing and Forwarding Pvt Ltd, among others.