Operation Monte Carlo: 204pc Customs Duty Evaded in Luxury Car Racket

21 Jul, 2021 11:25 IST|Sakshi Post

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (Mumbai Wing) seized a Nissan Petrol SUV worth around Rs. 1 crore from Malakpet. The registration of the vehicle took place in Manipur in the name of a businessman from Malakpet. Some of the businessmen in Hyderabad are also having links with the businessmen of Mumbai and are importing cars.

The DRI officials along with Hyderabad officials launched 'Operation Monte Carlo' after receiving a tip-off that some of the people were smuggling high-end cars into India in the identities of diplomats and then diverting them to private individuals, avoiding a large amount of customs charge.

“Imports made by foreign diplomats and Missions in India are governed by the Foreign Privileged Persons (Regulation of Customs Privileges) Rules, 1957. Motor cars are classifiable under chapter heading 8703 having duty structure of BCD (Basic Customs Duty) — 125%, IGST (Integrated Goods & Services Tax) - 28%, and 12.50% SWS (Social Welfare Surcharge). The net Customs duty on import of cars works out to 204%,” said the DRI.

The Indian government gives exemption from the customs duty on all imported goods to a few diplomats in the nation, as well as their families.

According to the DRI officials, 50 other cars were also imported in a similar manner by avoiding customs charges. Celebrities, businessmen, and builders are now using these vehicles. According to an official, these cars are also likely to be seized.

The cars will be imported into India from other countries in the names of diplomats and later will be sent to the buyer's city or a dealer of luxury cars. The registration of these imported luxury cars will take place at remote RTOs in various states where there will not be much verification and a smaller amount is payable as tax. After all the formalities, the cars will be sold to Indian buyers evading a custom duty of 204%. DRI officials said that in the past year, a total of 20 cars might have been sold.

A Dubai-based individual was the mastermind behind the racket and he was earlier probed by the agency. 

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