The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on Tuesday filed a case against jeweller Nirav Modi and his firms for allegedly diverting duty-free goods, mainly diamonds and pearls, worth Rs 890 crore to domestic markets through units located in the Surat special economic zone, PTI reported. Units in a special economic zone can import goods duty-free only for the purpose of export.
“We detected a difference in the declared stock value of the diamonds and pearls in the SEZ units and their actual value,” an unidentified revenue official told PTI. “This clearly indicates certain stock of these goods were diverted to a domestic tariff area.”
The official said the DRI had gone through documents that show goods worth Rs 890 crore were diverted to the domestic market. The official said the DRI was confirming the exact quantity of such diverted goods.
In 2014 too, the DRI had registered a case of customs duty evasion against three SEZ companies of the Nirav Modi group in Surat. At the time, the companies paid Rs 48.21 crore as customs duty, along with the interest and penalty.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are accused of cheating the Punjab National Bank of Rs 12,703 crore. Both men left the country in early January, and have so far not appeared before investigating agencies despite several summons.
Choksi has told the Central Bureau of Investigation that the charges against him are “exaggerated”, that he was “extremely held up” with his business abroad and would not be able to travel to India.